Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Candied violets - 'Twill keep


I held a jewel in my fingers -
And went to sleep -
The day was warm, and the winds were prosy -
I said, "'Twill keep".

I woke - and chid my honest fingers,
The Gem was gone -
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own -

Emily Dickinson

In early spring, my daughter and I love to gather the wild violets that grow in our yard to make candied violets. We don't use any pesticides on our lawn or gardens, so no worries there.

If you'd like to make these, you'll need violets, egg white from one egg, and fine white sugar. I put a cup of white sugar in my food processor and pulsed it a few times to make the grains finer, but not enough to make dust.

Using a clean watercolor brush, gently paint the front and back of the petals with the egg white. You'll notice I don't remove the stems of the flowers. They're easier to handle that way.

Putting the sugar in an old salt shaker made it easy to apply. Hint: don't bury your violet in sugar. When it dries, you won't be able to see the flower. Two or three shakes is sufficient.

Put your finished violets on a piece of parchment paper to dry overnight. Some people like to put them in a warm oven. Having tried both ways, I believe that air drying retains the color better. Don't remove the stems until they are completely dry.

Voila! We use these to top fairy cakes, which I'll share in the next post.

I store them in a jar of fine sugar until I am ready to use them. They'll keep for months. But we usually don't wait that long :)

16 comments:

JoAnn said...

cooooool!
It seems like an Anne of Green Gables-ish sort of thing to do. I want to live on your planet! :)

Joan said...

I love Emily Dickinson's poem and the way you've used it! All your pictures got a gasp from me. The blue of the violets and the wood and the cut glass and the white...and the Elf's delicate fingers and graceful concentration- definitely Green Gable-ish!

Our family's pace has been much too fast this Spring; I haven't been able to savor the comings of so many beloved flowers. Thank you!We're definitely doing this- capture Spring in a jar!

Stephanie Ann said...

They look really pretty, can't wait to see the cake.

Niamh said...

I thought you bought those! I didn't know they were made..I don't know how this fact escaped me cause I am sure I was told so. Anyway, my fond memories of the fairy cakes are even more fond now...way cool!
Someone stop me before I start candying every last wildflower I see!

Val said...

I'd stick with Violets Niamh...I candied a selection once only to have to throw them all out as my brother a boatanist kindly pointed out that the majority of my selection was poisonous....nearly a big oops that time

Val said...

or even a botanist ...mind you boatanist sounds interesting

Jodi said...

JoAnn - you can visit our planet anytime. Just a warning - we're mad as hatters....

Thank you, Joan and Steph

Jodi said...

Niamh - I think you're remembering those sugar pansies that I had.

Val - that's hilarious. Thank goodness for your botanist brother. But boatanist sounds interesting, too. "There's nothing like messing about in boats", or so I've read in Wind in the Willows. :D

Quotidian Life said...

Lovely! Tis a shame I have no violets or even pansies growing in my spring garden this year. But I'll keep this idea on the back burner. Thanks for the how-tos.

Niamh said...

As I remember, there were both the sugar pansies and the candied violets. Either way, I remember eating at least one candied violet at your house (one doesn't forget eating flowers).
Also, eat this: http://whatscookingamerica.net/EdibleFlowers/EdibleFlowersMain.htm

Rayanne said...

I love the little poem...and violets are so lovely.
beautiful post!

Alexis said...

Jodi,
I am visiting family in Virginia. Today as`I was walking on my parents farm I found some sweet little violets and I'm going to candy them with my sisters!! :)

Jodi said...

Alexis ,let me know how they turn out. have fun!

JoAnn said...

Alexis, bring some back for MEEE!!!!

Cheryl said...

I wonder how white violets would turn out. We only have white ones in the garden. I guess I could tint the icing. Yours look so pretty, I'm really tempted to have a go.

Jodi said...

Go for it, Cheryl. I'm sure they'll be pretty.

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