Ah, Spring is in the air, isn't it? I absolutely love walking outside and smelling the fragrant trees and witnessing the colorful growth make its way out of hibernation. Color is everywhere! Spring dresses flutter about, birds chirp and the coolness of the air mixed with sunshine is the perfect welcoming for a Spring frolick.
My favorite way to welcome the change is to add more color in my dishes and drinks with edible flowers! There's something about adorning a summer salad with a touch of colorful nature or smelling the faint fragrance while sipping a succulent libation.
Here a few recipes I plan to try for my next vacation to the porch:
Edible Flowers on Salads
My favorite (and easiest) way to add a touch of Spring to any dish is to garnish. Garnish a salad, any side dish or dessert! It's especially beautiful if you're individually plating a colorful meal and the edible flower is that extra special touch. Go to your local Whole Foods or natural foods market and ask for their edible flowers. This way, you can ensure you are eating the safest flower, free of pesticides and pollen.
Common sense note courtesy of Sprinkle Bakes blog: Eat only those flowers you are positive you can identify. Use organic, pesticide-free plants from nurseries and herb shops that offer organically grown flowers; pick them from a trusted friend's organic garden or your own.
- If you are using a lollipop mold (recommended), lightly grease it with cooking spray. If you are not using a mold, pour 2 cups of powdered sugar into a baking pan with a lip. Create indentations with the bottom of a glass or other flat-bottomed object. Set aside.
- Stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water in a small saucepan and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue to heat without stirring until the bubbling mixture reaches the hard-crack stage (302 degrees F). Remove pan from heat.
- Stir in flavoring oil and a small amount of gel food coloring. Be extra careful because the mixture will bubble and sputter with these additions.
- When the mixture has stopped bubbling, drop it into molds by the spoonfuls (or powdered sugar indentations) using a metal spoon. Carefully place a viola flower head or petal face down on the hot candy. Use the end of a lollipop stick to slightly press it into the candy. Quickly pour just enough hot candy over the flower head or petal to cover the backside, encasing it completely in the candy. Place a lollipop stick in the candy and turn 1/2 turn. Allow the candy to harden, then remove from molds. If using powdered sugar to mold, you may choose to rinse off the excess sugar under a thin stream of warm water - either way, the flower will become more visible once the lollipop is being enjoyed.
Herb Citrus Cordial (makes 4-5 pints)
Recipe courtesy of innbrooklyn.wordpress.com
- 6 cup sugar
- Zest of 6 citrus, in large pieces of peel
- 4 cups fresh citrus juice
- 2 cup water
- 8 cups loosely packed fresh basil or 2 cups lavender or 20 stalks of rosemary or some other herb you want to cordialize.
- In a large pot bring sugar, zest, juice, and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add the herbs and let the syrup infuse for at least 15 minutes.
- Meantime prepare your canning jars.
- Strain syrup through a fine sieve, squeezing out as much syrup as possible from the herb leaves before discarding them.
- Boiling water process for 10 minutes.
Serve with vodka and a splash of soda water, or just soda water if you prefer!
Enjoy the taste of Spring!