Some Sugarloafers went on a brief recce mission in fantastic weather, to decide on a final location for next weekends Wild Garlic Picking, and they passed these beautiful, vibrant flowers in a hedgrow. Growing about 30-40cm tall with broad leaves Sweet Violets are widely distributed, and instantly recognisable in most ditches.
We picked a few dozen, carefully making sure we had not stripped any one plant and leaving plenty dispersed throughout the ditch for the bees! The leaves of this plant may also be eaten and are a rich source of vitamins A & C. The petals and flowers may also be used infused in milk, or as a delicate flavouring for rice puddings. In uncompromising Sugarloaf form, we decided to go for the whole flower option, and see what we’ve ended up with!
The next task was far more delicate, involving covering completely the flower petals (and fingers) with beaten egg whites. This is especially important if you’d like to keep the flowers, as it will glaze them. After this they were dusted all over with caster sugar, and left on parchment to dry. Once dry, they can be kept in airtight containers. They will be ready to taste in a few days time, and if there are any leftovers, we will bring some along for early birds to taste next Sun…..