Spring brings many lovely moments. The first blooms of a season. New growth. Wild herbs. Planting. New life. Hatchlings. Mother's Day...
Wait... Mother's Day! Did you forget? SHAME on you! Well, it's not too late! Dash outside and harvest! Quick! Say what? Harvest? NOT dash out to the nearest store and spend? Nope!
'What could I harvest?' you may be asking yourself? Well, edible flowers and herbs you probably pick as weeds for one. Yep. You guessed it. Natures little gifts, violas and violets and herbs such as mint. What to do? Below I offer two easy options:
1. Harvest the flowers or herb.
2. Wash them free of any pollen.
3. Set them to dry on a paper towel.
4. Option 1: Candy them by brushing them with egg whites and then dusting them with sugar.
5. Set the sugared beauties on a rack to dry completely.
6. Bake or buy some cupcakes and top with the candied flower or herb.
7. Option 2: Allow the flowers and herbs to dry completely on the towel, bloom or leaf down. (Flowers and herbs may also be dried in the microwave. Flowers take seconds and herbs only minutes. Reference the internet once you harvest.)
8. Place the dried blooms or herbs in a food processor along with some sugar and blitz. Ta-Da! Viola (or violet) or mint sugar.
9. Package the sugar up and present to Mom OR make her some sugar cookies (homemade or a mix) and sprinkle the top with the flower or herb sugar before baking.
10. Present Mom with tissues for either Option 1 or Option 2.
Mom's are SO easy to please! We appreciate a handmade card. We appreciate someone cleaning our kitchen or weeding our yard... We appreciate help about the house... We appreciate a yummy treat...
Small kindnesses can and will make anyone's day but on Mother's Day of ALL days, do a little something EXTRA special for that mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend or neighbor, who is a mothering inspiration in your life. Both she and you will smile a little bigger and feel a LOT better if you do!
One of my favorite things to do in the Spring is wander about my garden and yard and search for things that are edible. Now that I am "ready," I then take those edible finds, bring them into my kitchen, get all "set" up and start to "play."
One of the ways you can get "ready" is by knowing what you have in your garden and yard. What I mean is, here in the East, we are blessed with many edible plants that grow wild. I have, for example, wild parsley, oregano, onions, dill, mint, violas, violets and lets not forget the ever-charming poison ivy. (Lets just NOT pick the last one okay?!)
A few days ago, I did an internet search about lilacs and learned lilacs are, in the olive family and most certainly edible but may not be as tasty as they are beautiful. This morning, I harvested the last blossoms from my lilac tree's first bloom and placed them throughout our home. I brought a gorgeous bunch to work. I placed some in a tiny glass in our daughter, Mia's, room, to cheer and surprise her. But, 'What else can I do with these delicate, precious little gems?' I thought to myself.
'Well,' I said to myself, 'Self, make Lilac Sugar!'
Making flavored sugars are a quick project and most any edible flower or herb may be used. What do you need besides said edible flowers, herbs and a bit of initiative? Simply; sugar, a baking sheet, parchment or waxed paper and a food processor.
Place the clean, stemmed, dry blooms or herbs in a food processor along with some sugar and blitz like you just don't care!
Remove the lovely, flavored sugar to a baking you have lined with parchment or waxed paper and spread it out to dry.
Toss it a couple times a day until it is completely dry and store it or better yet, USE it!
One use is to make a simple shortbread recipe (go on, use a store bought one, I won't tell) and sprinkle the top with the flavored sugar. You will have something unique and fun you can be proud to serve or offer as a gift.
So, get yourself "ready." "Set" yourself up and for goodness sake, "PLAY!"
Avid home cook and passionate instructor