Violets pop up all over my yard every year at this time, and I’m always extremely excited when they do. Violets are edible, and though picking them can be a little painstaking, I really enjoy eating and making things with the delicate purple beauties. Yesterday, I made candied violets.

candied violets | healthy green kitchen

As I mentioned above, violets are delicate…fragile. If your lawn is similarly dotted, and you’d like to use them in a recipe, plan to do so right after you pick them (otherwise they will wilt). I decided to make just a small amount of sugared violets (I will tell you why tomorrow) so I didn’t pick that many flowers. If you want to make lots of candied flowers, or a syrup or jelly with your violets, you’ll need to pick quite a lot.

violets  on plate_

To make candied/sugared violets, all you need is the flowers, some sugar (I used organic sugar), and something to get the sugar to adhere to the flowers. Generally I would use beaten egg white, but since I wanted these candied violets to be vegan, I used a slurry of flax seeds and water*: approximately 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water. The mixture was somewhat thick so I did add a little more water as I was working.

Superfine sugar is the best type of sugar to use for candied flowers: you can whir regular (or organic) sugar in a food processor to make it more fine, if you like.

candied violet set up

Use a tiny paintbrush to paint each flower with the binder (egg white or vegan egg substitute), then dip the flower into the sugar. I didn’t paint both sides of each flower (I think I will do so next time, though). I found it easiest to do deal with each flower by placing them on one of my fingers for the painting/sugar dipping. I didn’t leave the stems attached to all my violets when I plucked them but you can certainly do that, then snip them off after the flowers are fully dry.

violet on finger

I was in a bit of a hurry when I was making these, and not terribly concerned about coating the whole surface with binder/sugar. So maybe you’d could say my violets are “crystallized”, rather than candied, because they’re dusted with less sugar. In any case, once the flower is coated with the amount of binder/sugar that you want, place it on a piece of parchment paper. Put the candied flowers in an out-of-the-way place so they can dry overnight, or speed the drying by placing the parchment paper on a baking tray in a 200 degree F. oven for 13-15 minutes or so. Don’t over dry the candied flowers or they’ll become brittle and may break apart when you use them. Candied violets make a beautiful decoration for cakes, cupcakes, and other pastries.

Other ways to use violets: make a floral butter or pesto, or add to salads or beverages.

*My inspiration for the vegan sugared flowers was Lagusta.

Related recipes of mine:

Spring Tonic Soup
Violet Jelly
Baby Spinach Salad with Blue Cheese and Violets

Related recipes from fellow bloggers:

Candied Violets from Use Real Butter
Sugared Roses from Tori Avey
How to Sugar Flowers from Design Sponge
How to Candy Flowers from Joe Pastry

Related Reading:

Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook By Dina Falconi and Illustrated by Wendy Hollender.

 

17 Comments

  1. 1

    lagusta — May 6, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

    Oh wow! Yeah! I’m so happy my little messing around was an inspiration! So few people do vegan candied flowers, it’s so nice to see. Yours look so lovely. We’re going crazy making them around our shop right now—the next thing I’m going to attempt is the old-fashioned thing where you immerse them in a cold sugar syrup and let the sugar crystals grow around them, for those crunchy candied flowers. I’m very excited…

  2. 2

    sue/the view from great island — May 7, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

    I’m bbsessed with edible flowers this year, and I’m always on the hunt for violets, but here in California they’re hard to find. The color is so beautiful!

  3. 3

    Carolyn Ketchum — May 7, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

    So pretty. I would love to try it with some low carb sweetener too. I bet it could work!

  4. 4

    Toni | Boulder Locavore — May 7, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

    Clearly we are having a ‘great minds’ moment Winnie on the flower front! These are beautiful. I did a post on sugaring pansies last year that was so fun. I think edible flowers and sugaring them makes any dish whimsical and fun! Love this.

  5. 5

    kristy @ the wicked noodle — May 7, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

    These are the most beautiful cupcakes I’ve ever seen! I love their simplicity. And I didn’t know that violets are edible – can’t wait to use some in some of my treats! Thanks!

  6. 6

    denise — May 8, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

    Love these! My violets have not bloomed yet. I love using them in recipes. Yum.

  7. 7

    Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It Is — May 10, 2014 @ 7:21 am

    […] candied violets. love this […]

  8. 8

    Leah Davis — May 10, 2014 @ 8:51 am

    Those plates are gorgeous!!!

  9. 9

    Louise — May 10, 2014 @ 9:06 am

    My only concern is that these violets are growing in a pesticide, fungicide and fertilizer free yard. I know I would never eat anything growing in my lawn but would contemplate container gardening for this purpose.

    Have you tried this method on other flowers, or flower petals?

    The effect is breathtaking…

  10. 10

    Erica Trial — May 10, 2014 @ 5:03 pm

    Gah! I love your dishes! And the flowers, of course. I wish violets were easier to find in California!

    • Winnie replied: — May 14th, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

      Yes, I imagine you can’t find them everywhere, but we sure have a lot around here in upstate NY ;)

  11. 11

    ami@naivecookcooks — May 10, 2014 @ 5:14 pm

    Never thought about doing this with edible flowers!! So cool!

    • Winnie replied: — May 14th, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

      Thanks! I am going to try it with roses when mine bloom!

  12. 12

    ATasteOfMadness — May 11, 2014 @ 12:52 am

    This sounds really interesting! This is so pretty!

    • Winnie replied: — May 14th, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

      Thank you!

  13. 13

    Judy — May 11, 2014 @ 7:21 pm

    I love love love violet creams. Can’t get them here for some reason. The last few years when I went to England couldn’t get them any more either. I also like rose creams.
    Sigh.

    • Winnie replied: — May 14th, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

      Are violet and rose creams a type of candy? I need to look them up…

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