Sunday, 24 February 2008

Crystallised Violets

I love violets, I love parma violet sweets too and was overjoyed when I found violet ice cream here last year so when I saw all the violets in the lawn, I thought it would be sad just to mow them as they are so pretty. I though about picking a posy for the house but the stalks were not long enough for me to be able to place them in a vase. I’ve always wanted to try crystallising violets so this seemed like the ideal opportunity.

There are two methods given to crystallise violets. One requires a mixture of rosewater and gum Arabic that needs to be painted over the petals and then the petals are dipped in caster sugar or powdered sugar and left to dry. The second method is to boil them in sugar syrup. I decided against the first as I didn’t think I would have enough time plus I didn’t have the rosewater or gum Arabic either!

It didn’t take too long to pick a reasonable quantity of violets; I then trimmed all the stalks to just behind the flower head. While I was trimming off the stalks, I put the syrup on to boil for 5 minutes and then added the violets. The violets were ‘cooked’ for a minute and then I removed them from the syrup with a slotted spoon onto a plate.

This is where the fun starts, each flower had to be separated out and left to dry on a non-stick surface. It was quite difficult sorting out the individual flowers and most of them just look like purple blobs rather than flowers but then most things lose their shape if boiled. I suspect that it I want perfectly shaped flowers I will have to use the painting method so I think I will be keeping to purple blobs.

I’m now wondering about having a go with the pink plum blossom too. I’m pretty sure that they are edible and that it’s only flowers from bulbs that are poisonous.

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