Flowers are the perfect decoration for Beltane as it is perfectly symbolic to the energy of the season. Procreation. If the weather has been reasonable the landscape will be awash with wild and cultivated blossoms, some of them edible!
Violets fall into that category. These highly scented and colourful appendages make tasty additions to salads when fresh but sugared opens up a whole other set of options and they will last longer.
Violets come in a range of shades, from pink to purple. It is best to pick away from roads, chemicals and locations where territories get marked. Take only what you need and spread your harvesting around, a little from each plant so that they can recover and remain healthy for next year.
Courtenay, in a conversation last year says she sends out a message in advance that there will be some “trimming” so that the plant(s) has time to prepare. Saying thank-you is always a good idea as respect for what is being taken is important.
You will need:
Fresh violets, dry
white sugar ( the smallest grain available but not icing sugar)
Pick your violets after the dew has dried off the violets and bring them inside. If you are confident of the environment they were picked in, let the flowers rest so any little critters can feel safe enough to climb out of the blossoms. Return them to the outside.
If you are not sure about the environment, then a wash might be in order. Lay the blossoms out to dry and proceed, when they are no longer moist.
Don’t wait too long as the petals will tend to fold inwards, the longer they wait after picking.
Egg white can be used or dried albumin if that is your preference. Follow the instructions to mix in the water or beat the egg white with a teaspoon of water and find a thin paint brush to use on the petals.
Paint the inside of each petal with egg white and then sprinkle with sugar. My intention is to use these up in the next month but if you need yours to last longer, paint and sugar both sides. The sugar will act as a preservative.
Don’t overdo the egg white. The blossoms will take longer to dry and the finished product tends to be more clumpy and less attractive.
Place the sugared flower on a piece of paper towel or something similar. Using the opposite end of the paint brush, gently fold the petals back into their original position.
Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, etc. until you have as many sugared violets as you would like. Place the violets in a safe place and allow to dry out completely. This will take several hours, possibly over night.
Once dry clip off the stems of the blossoms and store, in an airtight container, in a dark location.
Use the violets to top baking, float in drinks, add to salads if the season is over or anything else that strikes your fancy.
Violets were used to decorate the dandelion cake because we all know fairies have a love of flowers.
Local strawberries are special because they are only here for a limited time and taste so much better, fresh from the fields.
Violets are also here for a limited time before they are gone, so make the most of the window of opportunity and put away some sugared violets while they are available. You never know when inspiration will strike.
UPDATE: I had about a quarter cup of violets left over and placed them into a container of sugar, making sure they were fully covered. It took about two weeks but the sugar thoroughly dried out the flowers and the violets flavoured the sugar. So if you prefer not to have the crystalized grains on the flowers themselves, this is another option.
Sugared Violets from My Kitchen Wand