Another very cold night but beautiful day, ah well, I will have to replant the runner beans which have for the second time succumbed to frost. For someone who espouses giving time for things to work, I can be pretty impatient!
Before all the spring flowers disappear please try to crystallise some. I meant to blog about this before but have been suprisingly busy. The Victorians used the technique for many edible flowers but from trying for the first time I would recommend flowers that aren't too tiddly and are relatively simple in shape.
Pick a few primrose heads, these look the most beautiful and/or violets (a little blobby looking when done). Paint both sides with ordinary egg white and dust all over with caster sugar.
I sat the flowers in a bowl of sugar once I had painted both sides with a childs paintbrush (unused by child) and then gently heaped the sugar over the top. Shake off excess sugar and check the flower is as evenly coated as possible. Place face down on grease proof paper that has a thin layer of caster sugar on it and put in a warm place to dry. I sat mine on the top of the aga for a couple of hours.
If you want to keep them, store in a small air tight container out of direct light.
I used the primroses to decorate a fruit fool pudding for a dinner party and they truely looked fabulous. I was suprised how simple they were to make, the caveat being they taste only of sugar. This was not the case when I tried the same method using fresh lemon verbena leaves, these were literally good enough to eat.
I am pretty sure, and will try, that this would work really well with herbs such as mint and basil. If you grow your own please try the flowers of the herbs as they are less strong versions of the leaves but look much better to dress salads.