The Ladies' Tea Guild

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The culinary uses of violets.

image from

The Victorians used floral flavorings much more than we do in the 21st century. Rose, orange flower and violet were very popular flavorings, and with almond and lemon, were more popular than vanilla for flavoring cakes, sauces, and custards. If you are lucky enough to have access to sweet violets, which are clean and not contaminated by auto exhaust, animal or human waste, or other substances, you can use them in a variety of tasty treats for the tea table. Below are some basic instructions for creating violet blossom garnishes, candied violets, and even violet water for flavoring tea.

"Violet leaves and flowers are often used as garnishes in chilled soups and for a festive touch in punches. The petals can be candied and used to garnish cakes, fruits, and pastries. The leaves are tasty enough to be eaten alone, but also work well when added to green salads.

To make candied Violet flowers, pick a large number of flowers and let dry on a paper towel for a couple of hours. Beat an egg white to a froth, and color it with food coloring, if desired. Using a fine brush, carefully coat each flower with the egg white, then pour fine sugar over each. Blend the sugar in your blender to make it a finer consistency, if desired. Lay each flower on wax paper to dry, then use as a decoration for your confections when the flowers are stiff enough to move.

Violet water is made by steeping leaves and flowers in water until it becomes fragrant. The water can then be used in teas and in puddings and for flavoring ice cubes."

No comments:

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)