Signs of Spring or Eating from Your Yard

by Chance on April 4, 2014

Here in Atlanta, spring has sprung! Some of the earliest signs of spring here are… allergies. Actually, we start to notice tiny flowers first. Violets are in abundance in my yard and my neighbor’s yard this year. I had read about and mentioned candying violets to my daughter in the last few weeks and at her insistence, we tried it. Violets are supposed to be a good source of vitamin C, plus they’re pretty, plus I think it’s a good idea to eat things out of your yard (as long as you know they have not been treated!). When I was a child, I remember having violet pastille candies with my grandmother.

The recipe is simple: violets, a lightly beaten egg white and superfine sugar. I used an egg from my chickens. For those of you who eschew raw eggs, you will want to buy either flash pasteurized eggs, pasteurized egg white or merengue powder. Water will not work, sorry.  I used an organic cane sugar which is so fine already that I didn’t bother with powdering it or purchasing castor sugar. It worked fine.

Leave a little bit of stem on your violets so that you have a place to hold (or not, our first ones did not have stem and I didn’t think it was any more difficult). Use a paintbrush (I tried with my finger, but the brush worked better) and paint the fronts of the petals with egg white. You want it completely coated, but not glopped up or dripping off. Flip the flower into a dish of sugar and gently press down with the dry end of the paintbrush. Carefully pick the flower up and let it rest on the index finger of the hand that is not holding the paintbrush, sugared side down. Gently paint the back of the petals with egg white and again, flip it into the dish of sugar. Ever so gently press the petals down. You want them fully coated, but you don’t want to tear up the petals. Once you have coated both sides, gently (yes, I did say gently, again!), place the flower on a sheet or parchment (or wax paper) and leave it until the flowers are completely dry. Some flowers dried very sturdily and can be picked up without the petals moving. Others, the petals are a little floppy. I suspect these did not get quite enough egg where the petals meet in the center.

The flowers can be eaten whole. You get crunchy sugar taste first (forethought and using vanilla sugar would make this awesome!) and then as you chew the petals, you get a very delicate violet flavor. Pretty cool!

I have read that these keep indefinitely, but I don’t think we coated ours enough for this to be true. If I wanted to keep them for longer than a few days, I would put them in the dehydrator so that they were completely dry before storing.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Grace September 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm

How beautiful.

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