While the weather continues to play peek a boo between the last remnants of cool air and the onset of spring, dots of purple across my lawn are a sure sign of the season. Yes, the violets are here, friends.
In past years, this has meant violet syrup. The task of gently plucking them from the grass, a tedious endeavor, results in a syrup that captures the taste of spring to infuse into sodas, cocktails, jams, and cakes. Another favorite project, albeit it one that requires a reserve of patience and time, is making candied violets.
The process is easy, really. It’s just not something you can rush, yet with the mindset and commitment to time, even a nine-year old can do it. Last week I was sitting in the back porch, making candied violets and Virginia asked to help. Actually, she said, “Mama, why don’t you let me do this so you can start dinner”.
All you need to make your own candied violets is an egg white, caster sugar, a fine-tipped paint brush, and freshly harvest wild violets (not African violets, they’re not edible). As for the caster sugar, it’s simply superfine sugar, and worth the effort to search for, as regular granulated sugar will weigh the delicate flowers down. You can opt to give some regular sugar a whizz in the food processor for a finer texture—I’ve done so myself in a pinch, but prefer caster sugar (I use this one from India Tree).
At first, softly brushing each petal with a thin coat of egg white will seem tedious, bordering on insane. Then you fall into a meditative groove, at least that’s what happens to me. Watching the sugared violets fill a waxed paper lined tray reminds me the slow-going work is indeed progressing, and leaves me excited to use them for the main reason I began the whole project—to decorate my daughters’ birthday cakes.
Nine Years Ago: Zucchini Muffins, Easy Cheesy Crackers (think homemade Cheez-Its!)
Eight Years Ago: Quick & Easy Risotto, Lemon Poppy Olive Oil Muffins, Racines Chocolate Cake, 20-Minute Marinara Sauce
Seven Years Ago: Traditional Cream Scones, Homemade Whole Grain Mustard, Cheddar Dill Butter
Six Years Ago: Roasted Rhubarb Jam, Parallel Lives
Five Years Ago: Why We Cook (video), The Gift of Nothing
Four Years Ago: 18 Hours in Philly, When I’m Gone (eggs in purgatory)
Three Years Ago: Easy, Homemade Granola Bars, Shredded Cabbage, Apple & Sesame Salad
Two Years Ago: Sparkling Skinny Margarita, Crispy Potato Straws, Sesame Seed Brittle & Strawberry Oatmeal
One Year Ago: Apple Strawberry Cardamom Pie, Sheet Pan Fried Rice, Cherry Berry Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies
How To Make Candied Violets
- Freshly harvest violets, stems attached
- Lightly beaten egg white
- Caster sugar
- fine-tipped paint brush
- Spread the violets on a tray, and lightly mist with water. Set aside to dry for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Line a tray with waxed paper.
- Dip the paint brush in egg white, shaking off any excess. Working with one flower at a time, gently paint the egg white onto the front and back of each petal, also making sure to coat the center of the flower, too.
- Sprinkle on the sugar, gently shaking off any excess. Rest the violet on the lined baking sheet, and continue with the remaining flowers. Let the flowers sit out at in a cool, dry spot, until hardened, usually 2 to 3 days. Snip off the stems with a scissor, and store in an airtight, glass jar.