Stay at home is imperative these days when the coronavirus impervious in the world in a dramatic way.
Here in Italy, we are very affected by this terrible virus and we are forced to stay at home and therefore also not to see our loved ones especially elderly people.
But outside it is Spring and where I live (in the countryside between Pisa and Lucca) it is almost a crime not to be able to enjoy the pure fresh air and the scent of the fields just flowered.
No egg white version
Fortunately, I have a small garden and I find many Violets that have just been born and so together with my daughter, we decided to pick them and to be able to make them candied.
My violets are precisely those of Parma, the most famous in Italy. A perfumer friend of mine gave me some seeds many years ago.
During the cooking classes that I run here in Tuscany, I do not let my students eat raw eggs because of the risk of salmonella.
That’s why I chose to make a totally egg-free version versus the old way to make candied violets.
Herb gathering Cooking Class
Anyway, when we feed with flowers, we’ve to be sure that flowers are absolutely edible flowers! Therefore not poisonous therefore non-toxic. A list of edible flowers here on Wikipedia.
Well together with a herbalist friend of mine we run in Tuscany an amazing herb gathering course. We take walks in the countryside and we catch all the edible species of flowers and plants that we meet on our path.
During this course, we teach what are the edible species and which ones toxic and poisonous instead, in our area. This is a beautiful course because at the end of the walk we cook the collected herbs together and then we eat them all together in a beautiful stone house surrounded by olive trees.
Spring is one of the best seasons for the Herb collection course. Unfortunately, because of covid-19, this year there will not be this course and no other type of course. You know, the imperative is: “stay at home”.
Stay at Home, but have fun!
However never give up! Well, any activity that can distract you from bad thoughts will entertain you even if you are stuck in the house.
Rest assured that making candied violets will have a lot of fun whether you are alone or with someone who can help you.
Furthermore apart from the fun, making candied violets is like a form of meditation. They are gestures that reassure you and that bring you back to a calmness that we need very much in this period.
The results are also very satisfying. Candied violets are beautiful as well as very good.
Once candied, you can store your violets for some days in a tin box, interspersed with sheets of parchment paper. And every time you open that box you will smell an incredible perfume.
Once took them out of the box you can use them to decorate beautiful biscuits or a cake for a friend‘s birthday.
- 50-100 fresh violets
- ½ cup sugar for the syrup
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup sugar (to coat the violets)
- tool: tweezers (remember to leave some stem attached to the flower)
- picking violets and immediately rinse them
- let to dry on a towel
- meantime put sugar and water in a saucepan, medium heat, to make a simple syrup
- as it boils whisk with a spoon and wait until the sugar is completely dissolved
- turn off the heat and let it cool room temperature
- deep the violets into the syrup using the tweezers, OR just brush them using a paintbrush on the petals
- pass the violets on the granulated sugar up and down with the help of tweezers (completely coating them)
- Set the violets on parchment paper for baking and let them dry for 1 hour
- after 1 hour with tweezers or with another tool, remove the violets that have stuck to the sheet, moving them slightly
- sprinkle them with the granulated sugar and let them over the paper 1 more hour