How to make crystallised, edible flowers
There are lots of little violets popping up in the hedgerows this spring, have you ever wanted to try and preserve edible flowers for decorating your favourite baking projects?
First of all, let’s talk about eating plants. Of course not all plants are edible and some can be fatal if eaten, so the golden rule with foraging or eating any wild plants or even flowers from the garden, make 100% sure you know what you are eating. If you are not 100% sure, don’t eat it!
We advise going on a foraging course, there are more and more companies offering local foraging courses so you can learn the skills that our ancestors would have taken for granted and discover a treasure of wild plants that you can use in your home, for a wide variety of uses. In Cornwall, we recommend Rachel Lambert’s Wild Walks or Cornish Wild Food, walks run by Matt who is ultra knowledgeable and informative.
We recommend ‘The Forager’s Calendar – A seasonal Guide to Nature’s Wild Harvests’ by Joh Wright, which you can find on the Hedgerow & Moor section of our website. It’s a great starting point to be able to start to identify some of the plants that are local to you and help you to start really noticing plants.
There are plenty of Apps available for plant identification, but they are not 100% reliable. If you use an app, you should double or triple check that you are sure that the plant you are about to eat is what you think it is!
Another note is that it is illegal to pick certain wild plants. Here is a link to the government’s website to double check you are not picking a protected plant. It is also illegal to uproot any wild plant unless you have the landowners permission.
To be on the safe side, why not plant some of your favourite native flowers in our garden, such as easy to grow primroses and violets, so that you have a guaranteed supply each spring!
Let’s get to the gathering of your flowers. It is best to pick flowers mid to late morning, once the dew has dried. As violets are such delicate flowers, it’s best not to wash them, so make sure you pick them away from ground level.
Once you have gathered the flowers you want to use, (you can use violets, primroses, nasturtiums or borage flowers for example), you can then get to preserving them.
Make sure the flowers are fully dried before starting. Then, with a small pot of egg white, take a paintbrush and brush every part of the flower, making sure you get into all of the nooks and crannies! Then you simply dip the flowers into sugar – granulated or caster, white or golden.
Then leave to dry for about 24 hours, and then they are ready to use as decoration on your favourite sweet recipes. They will keep for several months if stored in an air-tight container. We hope you enjoy making your own crystalised flowers.
If you want to see our video on making crystalised violets, then check out our Hedgerow & Moor Instagram page.