SUGAR your edible FLOWER blooms

Buds to Blooms...from Spring to finally Summer...

...we have beautiful and pesky edibles everywhere

Not too long ago...my usual curiosity...

  ...about one of my favourite spring flowers...
the TULIP... 
stirred up quite a reaction.

Some knew that...
 natural tulip leaves could be eaten...
or at the very least used safely...
in food presentations.
However, just as I was...most of you were taken much by surprise.

As much as I was aware of the usual comestible flowers...
tulips didn't quite fit that scenario.
Tulip Petals (Tulipa)
Flavor varies from tulip to tulip, but generally the petals taste like
sweet lettuce, fresh baby peas, or a cucumber-like texture and flavor.

Imagine, now having that type of information.
I could go wild with my food presentations...
and get a real conversation kicker out of my guests.

Saturday, was a fantastic morning for a
promenade stroll to a nearby river walkway.

Plenty of wild flowers growing sporadically
and creating true natural splendour.

Unfortunately...this wildness also included...
sneaky poison ivy...watch out!

Just about now...
you must be hoping I'm not going in the
poisonous direction...well...OK...not today...
however, with me...who knows ;o)

 Today I'll promenade you...

...just as I did with my...
two dearest males in my life.


Big boss...little boss. Which is which you ask? Keep following my journal and in time you'll be the judge ;o)

As we were revelling in the joy of our walk...
...we realized how enveloped we were...
with the delicate fragrance of LILACS.

There's no one flower which has ever brought me closer in memory of
my grandparents with their beautifully furnished backyard Lilac bush.
Keep in mind that my 'Nonna' could not stand any fragrance...
not flowers not even anyone else's perfume.
However, she always had a fresh cut bouquet of these mini bunches
of purple blossoms on their sturdy branches inviting you into her home.

Now, you tell me...how could I not love these flowers?

Later on in life, at our home garden...
we planted our Lilac bush varieties to signalize the arrival of Spring...
the re-birth of new things to happen...
and of course the month I was turning yet another year in age.

Thankfully, my birth month coincided with this happy blossoming world.
Aging, so far, has really not been my principal thought...
not with all that beauty around me.

What surprises me though, is how come my 'Nonna'...
who was a very savvy and frugal woman...

...never used these blooms as an added food ingredient?
That would have saved me the ignorance of not having had the
use of all those beautiful blooms in my garden.

For all the years I had my garden...
not once, did I ever think of getting the use of on my own supply.

Oh, well, she's been forgiven...after all, I have learnt so much more from her throughout the greater part of my life.

Floral edible decorations used by pastry chefs today
are absolutely not the flowers of centuries ago.
Way back then, the primary sources of dessert garnish
were candied (sugared) flowers their petals.

Guess which flower became their favourite?
One that was plentiful, easy to find and ultimately would provide
a slight distinctive lemony flavour to their food preparations...
especially desserts.  Yep...the very fragrant LILAC...
or as the Latin would call it...the Syringa vulgaris.

Keep in mind that not all Lilac varieties are created equal.
They do not all taste the same!
The Lilac has been usually described as passing from
typically floral tasting to at times even sweet tasting...
but mostly detected is the similarity it shares with Lavender.

I guess we'll have to put our palate to work.

If you have access to non-chemically treated Lilac blooms...
...here's how you can proceed to making your candied Lilacs:
. Choose the most fragrant of Lilacs and cut off some healthy fresh clusters.
. Rinse the blooms under a gentle flow of cool water.
. Pull away each flower carefully from its stem.
. Have them air dry by placing them on a paper towel or cloth.

Candied crystallized Flower Blooms and Petals
(recipe graciously verbalized by a close friend...and compiled by 'Moi')
(American / Metric measures)
. 2 cups (30g) flowers blossoms / petals (loosely piled)
...for syrup:
. 1 cup (220g) granulated sugar
. 1/2 cup (125ml) water
...for finishing flower coating
. 1 cup (220g) superfine sugar [or Fruit (fructose) sugar]

1. In a small saucepan...combine both the sugar and water and place over medium heat.  Stir the mixture constantly as it turns into a smooth syrup.
Watch the consistency...you do not want it to harden.  It's highly recommended to gage the syrup by having a candy thermometer reach 220 F/104 C.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool down to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, prepare a cookie sheet covered with a parchment or wax paper.  Sprinkle the superfine sugar throughout the surface.  Set aside.

Sugar those blooms:
4. With a pair of tweezers...pick up each Lilac flower by its very small stem and lightly dip into the cooled syrup.  Gently shake off excess and immediately dip the Lilac onto the sugar waiting on the cookie sheet.  Carefully ensure that the whole flower is coated.  Then, on the same sheet...leave the flower face up and uncovered to dry completely.
5. Depending on the size of the flower...the whole drying process can take up to about 4 hours.
6. Once the bloom has crystallized...it will take on a sturdy property and be much easier to handle.
. These sugared blooms can be stored in an airtight glass jar for up to a month in a cool dry spot.
Garnish this lightly sweet, lemony, floral flavour to your favourite creation of choice.

source: Makka's Kitchen

You SUGARED your BLOOMS...now what?
Now, that you have adventured yourself into the world of candied blooms...
especially the Lilac blossoms...where could you integrate them?
Well, don't despair...I went hunting for some very useful and unique treasures.

To start with...
. Lilacs can be substituted in any recipes made with Lavender
. They can be applied to garnish any food presentation...
however, salads may be the most appropriately inviting source.
. By far, the most popular would be the use in desserts such as:
cakes, cupcakes, cookies, scones etc...
and especially in any sweet frozen concoction.
. Actually, you can simply sprinkle some candied Lilac blooms
on a great big scoop of vanilla ice-cream ;o)

Here are other great culinary suggestions by Janette:
. To indulge your friends with your new culinary lilac blossoms, prepare a yogurt dip with a cup of vanilla yogurt, two teaspoons of honey and a little chopped lilac blossoms stirred in. Refrigerate for an hour and serve with cherries and strawberries and garnish the tray with the best looking blossoms.
. Another simple suggestion for trying some lilac is to blend some blossoms into some plain cream cheese and spread onto a pumpernickel or rye bread. Add a thin slice of cucumber to open faced sandwiches and serve at tea.

Speaking of Tea
Care for a cup of Lilac Oolong...
(Bao Jong / Bao Zhong) Tea? 
This lovely Taiwanese specialized tea has been
described as distinctively mellow and refreshing.
It is a lightly oxidized oolong which has the properties
of an intoxicating, however sweet floral aroma.
The intense flavour is captured by the tea leaves
which have been gently scented with natural Lilacs.
This unique tea can be found in specialized tea and herbal shops.

 Here at the mandarins tea ...Toki has developed a specialized blog...
 on the world of Tea...including this wonderful Lilac infused concoction.
Here’s also another great Tea specialized site

Flowers candied with a...
cold recipe preparation?

Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) 
Cranberry-like flavor with citrus overtones.
Use slightly acidic petals sparingly in salads or as garnish.
The flower can be dried to make an exotic tea.
Try an egg white and sugar mix application...from this: how to video.
The following categories are covered extensively at this excellent resource:

. How To Choose Edible Flowers with its detailed chart.
. Some dos and don'ts concerning edible flowers.
. Simple guidelines to keep in mind before you eat any type of flower.
. Everything you want to know on how to turn those flowers into an edible treat.

Geraniums - Scented (Pelargonium species) The flower flavour generally corresponds to the variety. For example, a lemon-scented geranium would have lemon-scented flowers. They come in fragrances from citrus and spice to fruits and flowers, and usually in colors of pinks and pastels.  Sprinkle them over desserts and in refreshing drinks or freeze in ice cubes.

NOTE-warning: The 'Citronelle' variety may not be edible.

Roses (Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis)
Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice.  All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties.  Miniature varieties can garnish ice cream and desserts, or larger petals can be sprinkled on desserts or salads. F reeze them in ice cubes and float them in punches also. Petals used in syrups, jellies, perfumed butters and sweet spreads.

NOTE: Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals.



After having read all this fascinating info on edible flowers...
are you now enticed to have a taste at the next bloom?
Or...have you been adventurous already?
Flavourful blossom wishes to all,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.

OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.