Adventures in Eating: Crystalize Flowers
Just when Angelino’s thought their lush green landscapes were going to dry up into a veritable desert, heaven blessed them with rain, wonderful sweet rain! Unfortunately not enough to eliminate the drought altogether, but enough to keep our “gardens growing”.
After spending an arm and a leg on a new sprinkler system to water our newly landscaped home, my husband and I panicked. Like everyone else in L.A., we were instructed to cut back 10 percent on our monthly water usage. How could we? Our new lawn and garden needed massive amounts of watering! Well, due to all the rain we recently received, we are comfortable for awhile.
In the kitchen, flowers are as important to me as salt and pepper. I use them not only for garnish, but in salads, soups, desserts, and ice molds. I love venturing out to my garden with my basket and shears to cut fresh unsprayed flowers. Some of my favorite edible flowers are violets, roses, nasturtium, pansys, johnny-jumpups, lavender and bachelor buttons. As much as I love them, fresh flowers never seem to last as long as I would like them to.
There is a way to preserve them! It is easy to do and the final result is beautiful and tasty.
The best way to preserve flowers to garnish cakes or baked goods (or anything your heart fancies!) is to crystalize them. Flow-. ers that have been crystalized while fresh retain their vibrant color and can be stored for up to two years (in a cool dry place). They can turn a simple frosted cake into a piece of art! You can use these flowers anyway you wish. Be creative!
To crystalize flowers
Items needed: Tweezers
Small paint brushes
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Assorted edible flowers:(available in some markets)
In a bowl of a food processor place the sugar and process two minutes to make powdery. In a bowl beat the egg whites until frothy. Using tweezers to hold the flowers, paint both sides of the pedals with the egg whites and the paint brush. Sprinkle the fine sugar onto the whole flower and set on wax paper to dry. When dry, store in an air tight container.
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