NEW! Pharmacopeia of Flowers: Foods, Drinks, Health & Beauty
Candy Flowers & Candied Flowers
Crystallize |ˈkristəˌlīz| verb
form or cause to form crystals : [intrans.] when most liquids freeze they crystallize.
• figurative [intrans.] make or become definite and clear : vague feelings of unrest crystallized into something more concrete | [trans.] writing can help to crystallize your thoughts.
• [usu. as adj.] (crystallized) coat and impregnate (fruit or petals) with sugar as a means of preserving them : a box of crystallized fruits.
crystallizable |ˈkristəˌlīzəbəl; ˌkristəˈlīzəbəl| adjective
crystallization |ˌkristələˈzā sh ən| noun
Thesaurus Crystallize (verb)
1. minerals crystallize at different temperatures form crystals, solidify, harden.
2. the idea crystallized in her mind become clear, become definite, take shape, materialize, coalesce; informal jell.
Candy |ˈkandē| noun (pl. -dies)
a sweet food made with sugar or syrup combined with fruit, chocolate, or nuts : [as adj.] a candy bar | pink and yellow candies.
• sugar crystallized by repeated boiling and slow evaporation.
verb (-dies, -died) [trans.] [often as adj.] (candied)
preserve (fruit) by coating and impregnating it with a sugar syrup : candied fruit.
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.(as a verb): the noun use is from late Middle English sugar-candy, from French sucre candi ‘crystallized sugar', from Arabic sukkar ‘sugar' + ḳandī ‘candied,' based on Sanskrit khaṇḍa ‘fragment.'
Confection |kənˈfek sh ən| noun
1. a dish or delicacy made with sweet ingredients : a whipped chocolate and cream confection.
• an elaborately constructed thing, esp. a frivolous one : the city is a classical confection of shimmering gold.
• a fashionable or elaborate article of women's dress : she was wearing some white confection with an enormous satin bow.
2. the action of mixing or compounding something.
confectionary |-ˌnerē| adjective
ORIGIN Middle English (in the general sense [something made by mixing,] esp. a medicinal preparation): via Old French from Latin confectio(n-), from conficere ‘put together’ (see confect).
Honeysuckle |ˈhənēˌsəkəl| noun
a widely distributed climbing shrub with tubular flowers that are typically fragrant and of two colors or shades, opening in the evening for pollination by moths.
• Genera Lonicera and Diervilla, family Caprifoliaceae (the honeysuckle family): many species, including the common Japanese honeysuckle (L. japonica), the trumpet honeysuckle (L. sempervirens), and the northern bush honeysuckle (D. lonicera). The honeysuckle family also includes such berry-bearing shrubs as guelder rose, elder, and snowberry.
ORIGIN Middle English honysoukil, extension of honysouke, from Old English hunigsūce (see honey , suck). It originally denoted tubular flowers, such as the red clover, which are sucked for their nectar.
The greater honeysuckle family is an odd one. It straddles the edible / non-edible line, with some members long used as food and other members at least mildly toxic. For example, elderberries are in the Honeysuckle family, then tend to be edible in North America and not in the Old World. A famous or should I say infamous invasive member of that family is the Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, or Japanese Honeysuckle. It's definitely the one we have here in the south spreading everywhere. Kids have known for generations that you can suck the sweet nectar out of the blossoms. Most of them don't know, however, that the blossom is edible. It has a sweet, honey flavor. You can flavor wine with them as well. Tea is good, too.
Honeysuckle Flower Drinks & Beverages
Honeysuckle has a very sweet nectar that can be sucked out from the stem. The flower and its nectar are often used in cocktail drinks. A nice cocktail is made of honeysuckle, watermelon and tequila. The mixed flavors play nicely against each other. A honeysuckle pineapple cocktail gives you and your guests an exotic drink to enjoy. For the best flavor, squeeze the nectar from the flower's stem, and then place the flower in the drink.
MarshMallows Flowers & Roots
Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow, Marsh Mallow, or "Common Marshmallow") is a species indigenous to Africa, which is used as a MEDICINAL plant and ornamental plant. A confection made from the root since ancient Egyptian time evolved into today's marshmallow treat.
The stems, which die down in the autumn, are erect, 3 to 4 ft (0.91 to 1.2 m), simple, or putting out only a few lateral branches. The leaves, shortly petioled, are roundish, ovate-cordate, 2 to 3 in (51 to 76 mm) long, and about 1-¼ inch broad, entire or three to five lobed, irregularly toothed at the margin, and thick. They are soft and velvety on both sides, due to a dense covering of stellate hairs. The flowers are shaped like those of the common mallow, but are smaller and of a pale colour, and are either axillary, or in panicles, more often the latter.
The stamens are united into a tube, the anthers, kidney-shaped and one-celled. The flowers are in bloom during August and September, and are followed, as in other species of this order, by the flat, round fruit which are popularly called 'cheeses'.
The common mallow is frequently called by country people 'marsh mallow,' but the true marsh mallow is distinguished from all the other mallows growing in Great Britain, by the numerous divisions of the outer calyx (six to nine cleft), by the hoary down which thickly clothes the stems and foliage, and by the numerous panicles of blush-coloured flowers, paler than the common mallow.
The roots are perennial, thick, long and tapering, very tough and pliant, whitish yellow outside, white and fibrous within.
How many names does this mallow have? There's Common Mallow, High Mallow, Tall mallow, Mauve des Bois, Cheeses, and botanically Malva Sylvestris, which means mallow of the woods. Native to western Europe as the plant moved with colonialists it picked up various names. It's an annual in cool areas and a perennial in warmer areas. It is found in most states save the Old South and Nevada though it does grow in South Carolina.
MarshMallows Flower Foods
The mucilaginous leaves are eaten like spinach, added to soups to give them texture, or used to make a tea. Flowers are used like a vegetable or as a garnish. Unripe fruits are called cheese because they look like a small wheel of cheese. They are a nibble. Look for blossoms from June to September.
Most of the mallows have been used as food, and are mentioned by early classic writers with this connection. Mallow was an esculent (edible) vegetable among the Romans; a dish of marsh mallow was one of their delicacies.
Prosper Alpinus stated in 1592 that a plant of the mallow kind was eaten by the Egyptians. Many of the poorer inhabitants of Syria subsist for weeks on herbs, of which marsh mallow is one of the most common.
When boiled first and fried with onions and butter, the roots are said to form a palatable dish, and in times of scarcity consequent upon the failure of the crops, this plant, which fortunately grows there in great abundance, is collected heavily as a foodstuff.
The root extract (halawa extract) is sometimes used as flavouring in the making of a Middle Eastern snack called halva. The flowers and young leaves can be eaten, and are often added to salads or are boiled and fried.
The later French version of the recipe, called pâte de guimauve (or "guimauve" for short), included an eggwhite meringue and was often flavored with rose water. Pâte de guimauve more closely resembles contemporary commercially available marshmallows, which no longer contain any actual marshmallow.
MarshMallows Flower Health Benefits
The entire plant, particularly the root, abounds with a mild mucilage, which is emollient to a much greater degree than the common mallow. The generic name, Althaea, is derived from the Greek "ἄλθειν" (to cure), from its healing properties. The name of the family, Malvaceae, is derived from the Greek "μαλακός" (soft; Latin "mollis"), from the special qualities of the mallows in softening and healing.
The leaves, flowers and the root of A. officinalis (marshmallow) all have medicinal properties. These are reflected in the name of the genus, which comes from the Greek ἄλθειν (althein), meaning "to heal". In traditional Chinese medicine, Althaea officinalis is known as 藥蜀葵 (pinyin: yàoshǔkuí). It increases the flow of breast milk and soothes the bronchial tubes.
Marshmallow is traditionally used as a treatment for the irritation of mucous membranes, including use as a gargle for mouth and throat ulcers, and gastric ulcers. A study on rats concluded that an extract from the flowers has potential benefits for hyperlipidemia, gastric ulcers and platelet aggregation. The root has been used since the Middle Ages in the treatment of sore throat.
Crystallized Flowers / Edible Candy Flowers:
Candied flowers and petals can be used in a variety of imaginative ways - to decorate cakes large and small - all kinds of sweet things, such as ice cream, sherbet, crèmes and fruit salads, cocktails.
- 1 egg white or powdered egg whites
- Superfine granulated sugar (either purchased or made in a blender or food processor - just blend regular sugar until extra-fine)
- Thin paintbrush
- Violets, pansies, Johnny-jump-ups, rose petals, lilac, borage, pea, pinks, scented geraniums, etc.
- Wire rack covered with wax paper
- Carefully clean and completely dry the flowers or petals.
- Beat the egg white in the small bowl until slightly foamy, if necessary add a few drops of water to make the white easy to spread.
- Paint each flower individually with beaten egg white using the small paintbrush. When thoroughly coated with egg white, sprinkle with superfine sugar.
- Place the coated flowers or petals on wax paper on a wire rack. Let dry at room temperature (this could take 12 to 36 hours). To test for dryness, check the base of the bloom and the heart of the flower to make sure they have no moisture. Flowers are completely dry when stiff and brittle to the touch. NOTE: To hasten drying, you may place the candied flowers in an oven with a pilot light overnight, or in an oven set at 150 degrees to 200 degrees F with the door ajar for a few hours.
- Store the flowers in layers, separated by tissue paper, in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
Candied Violet Blossoms
You can use this recipe to candy other edible flowers, such as roses, pansies, carnations, nasturtium, honeysuckle, jasmine, lilac, marigolds, clover, and orange blossom. The results are equally pretty and very rewarding. Store-bought candied flowers are intended for long storage, so they have added colorants and aromas. The beauty of the homemade variety, on the other hand, is the purity of the natural flavor.
To begin, you will need a small paintbrush (designated for food use only), an egg white, some superfine or caster sugar, and your desired amount of violet flowers, with the stems attached. If you don’t have superfine sugar, simply pulse regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about a minute. The result should be sugar with a slightly finer grain which will stick to the violets better than regular granulated sugar.
Since the flowers are so delicate, they cannot stand any more than a gentle wash before being used.
- Beat the egg white in a small bowl until frothy, about a minute. Then, grasping by the stem, paint the front and back of all the petals with a thin layer of the beaten egg white.
- Place the violet flower on the sugar, and use a spoon to scoop the sugar all over the front and back of the violet petals. Once the flower is coated with the sugar, place it gently onto a sheet of wax paper to dry overnight.
- Once the flowers seem stiff and completely dry, snip off the stems, and store the violets in a sealed airtight container. They should keep for a while in a cool, dry place, but I would recommend using them as soon as possible.
If you happen to have a windfall of violets though, making violet syrup is a real treat. The thick, sweet syrup is stained the most gorgeous shade of purple imaginable. I find commercial soft drinks too sweet for my taste, but a drizzle of this syrup into a glass of sparkling water is extremely refreshing. It is also great to add as a sweetener to green teas (iced especially), as it accentuates the natural violet-like facets of the tea. My favorite way to use it though, is to drizzle the syrup on top of a panna cotta, where it adds a beautiful, light fruity floral flavor, similar to the taste of the crystallized violets. Use your imagination - the possible uses for this syrup are endless!
Where to Find Fresh Violets
The hardest part about cooking with violets is often finding the violets themselves. The best violets to use are Viola odorata, a species otherwise known as the sweet violet. They are native to Europe and Asia but may also be found in parts of North America. This variety is also sometimes cultivated and can be found at gourmet and specialty stores. So, to be safe, make sure you use violets (or any other edible flowers) that have not been treated with any herbicides or pesticides. If you have a garden, violets (perfumed Viola odorata variety included) are easy to grow.
Where to Find Candied Flowers
If you can’t find edible flowers to candy yourself, look for the ready-made kind at gourmet stores, spice shops, and pastry stores. Amazon.com, Dean & Deluca, Kalustyan’s, markethallfoods.com, and other specialty stores offer a variety of candied blossoms, including rose, mimosa, and lilac.
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