Happiest when I am about to tackle a new challenge and happier still if the job involves flowers, I set off into the frozen wastes of the Cottage Garden to see what I can pick. This wasteland of dried stems with the odd pernicious and very hardy weed is hardly an oasis of verdant growth and colour. And it is hat and gloves cold. I am looking for something special and I am in luck because despite the low temperatures, the Heartsease is flowering in perfect miniature style with each little face a total miracle of colour and detail. Petals as dark as thunder clouds set against daffodil yellow make me chirpy and glad, which is helpful because my hat just blew off and fell in the pond. But still the flower hunt continues. I find some big Pansies and then some dainty Primroses which I add to my collection. These pale lemon flowers which grow wild in my garden will be perfect for crystallising and for decorating my Easter cakes.Indoors I cosy up in my kitchen with my flowers. Getting close to these darling, dainty blooms must be the most perfect way to spend a cold afternoon in March. With my little paintbrush and pasteurised egg white at the ready, I get to work, painting each petal then coating it with sugar. But surely, crystallising edible flowers can’t be this easy? But actually, it is! And once they are fully dried, I pop them into a special little box. This little collection of fragile, fragrant, sugary delights, must surely be the sweetest way to mark the arrival of spring; a most welcome symbol of all the hope and promise which the garden has in store for us this coming year.
These little flowers travel across the miles from my garden to yours as a little gift of love,
Happy Easter x
HOW TO CRYSTALLISE EDIBLE FLOWERS
You will need
A small artist’s paintbrush
1 sachet of dried egg white powder
A small bowl
- First of all, please make sure that all the flowers you choose are edible, for a helpful list please go to the RHS website. Never pick wild flowers unless they grow in your own garden.
- Pick your flowers when they are just at their peak, not when they are beginning to go over. Always pick when the bright sun is not shining on the flowers. You need the petals to be firm, not floppy and limp
- Pick just a few at a time. Remove all but a very tiny bit of stem to hold on to with tweezers. Remove tiny leaves with a small pair of scissors.
- Using dried pasteurised egg white, reconstitute using the manufactures instructions
- Holding the flower with tweezers, gently brush each petal with egg white. You can rest the flower on the plate to do this. Turn the flower over and paint the other side.
- Hold the flower over the bowl of sugar and either press in gently into it to cover, or sprinkle sugar over it using a teaspoon
- Make sure you cover all the petals with sugar. Tap the tweezers with the teaspoon to remove any excess sugar.
- Place the sugared flower on the plate to dry. Moving I them gently as the drying begins to happen so that it does not stick to the plate.
- Leave in a warm place overnight and when totally dry place very carefully in a lidded box and keep in a dry place.