Candying flowers may seem like a new trend, but it’s a tradition that dates as far back as the Greeks and Romans. Because sugar cane had not yet made its way to Europe, they used honey to sweeten the colorful petals of edible flowers. In addition to being a delightful treat, candied flowers also had medicinal purposes in the ancient world.
For Candied Flowers
- 1 egg white, at room temperature
- 20-30 pesticide-free fresh flowers
- Sugar for sprinkling
For candied zest
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For Candied Flowers
- 1 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 2 In a bowl, beat the egg white until it is covered with a light foam.
- 3 Using a clean, small paintbrush, lightly and evenly coat the flowers with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. If the sugar is absorbed after a few minutes, sprinkle again.
- 4 Put the flowers on the prepared baking sheet and let dry at room temperature for 24 hours. The candied flowers can be stored between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
For Candied Zest
- 1 Thoroughly wash the oranges and lemon.
- 2 Cut a slice from the blossom end of each fruit so it stands upright on a work surface.
- 3 Working from top to bottom, use a small, sharp knife to cut strips of zest, leaving the white pith behind.
- 4 Stack the strips and cut them lengthwise into narrow strips 1/4 inch wide.
- 5 Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat.
- 6 Add the zest strips and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the zest, refill the pan with water and repeat.
- 7 In another saucepan over medium heat, bring the 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup water and lemon juice to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- 8 Add the zest strips, reduce the heat to very low (barely a simmer), and cook until the strips are translucent and tender, about 30 minutes.
- 9 Using a fork, lift the strips from the syrup and place on a wire rack set over waxed paper, making sure that the strips are not touching. Let dry overnight at room temperature.
- 10 Put the 1/3 cup sugar in a small, wide bowl. Toss the zest, about 10 strips at a time, in the sugar. If not using the zest immediately, store in an airtight container at room temperature. It will keep for up to 1 month. Makes 20 to 30 candied flowers or about 1/2 cup candied zest.