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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Must haves: Edible but beautiful gardens!




By Briana Booker

Have you ever wanted to have an edible garden similar to Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory? I do! So, I am thinking about making a semi-edible flower garden with my mom one of these days! In fact, I never had an edible flower to eat! But, I am more than willing to try!

People of the Roman, Chinese, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures have used flowers for meals  for centuries! The secret is to use these flowers in simple dishes to give the dish a taste of elegance. Do not add a range of flavors to the dish because it will overpower the delicate taste of the flower.




A few edible flowers are lavender, thyme, dill, cilantro, day lily, squash blossom, nasturtiums, chives, and basil!

If you want a spicy to tangy taste, try a calendula officinalis.


If you are looking for a sweet taste, try carnations in wines or desserts!

Here is a recipe I look forward to trying, crystallized candy flowers!

Crystallized/Candy Edible Flowers:






Ingredients:



1 egg white or powdered egg whites



Superfine granulated sugar (either purchased or made in a blender or food processor - just blend regular sugar until extra-fine)



Thin paintbrush



Violets, pansies, Johnny-jump-ups, rose petals, lilac, borage, pea, pinks, scented geraniums, etc.



Wire rack covered with wax paper



Directions:



Carefully clean and completely dry the flowers or petals.



Beat the egg white in the small bowl until slightly foamy, if necessary add a few drops of water to make the white easy to spread.



Paint each flower individually with beaten egg white using the small paintbrush. When thoroughly coated with egg white, sprinkle with superfine sugar.



Place the coated flowers or petals on wax paper on a wire rack. Let dry at room temperature (this could take 12 to 36 hours). To test for dryness, check the base of the bloom and the heart of the flower to make sure they have no moisture. Flowers are completely dry when stiff and brittle to the touch.

NOTE: To hasten drying, you may place the candied flowers in an oven with a pilot light overnight, or in an oven set at 150 degrees to 200 degrees F with the door ajar for a few hours.



Store the flowers in layers, separated by tissue paper, in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.


Let me know how it goes and check out one of my favorite songs of all time 'Pure Imagination'.

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