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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