We moved into a new house this week, and when I say it’s been mayhem and madness, I’m not joking. I’ve spent five days unpacking boxes, and it feels like I’ve barely made a dent. I’m sure it’ll all come together in one smooth motion but till then, I’ve had little to no time for foraging.
I have put a little time into the garden, however, and put down seed for the grass to regenerate in the bald patches, as well as transplanted some of the herbs from the kitchen. It is trial and error at the moment, and while the courgette plants (zucchini) are doing well in their new home, and the salad is coming on nicely too, the basil has taken it all quite badly and currently looks a little forlorn. I might need to start again on that, and perhaps keep it indoors.
Whilst pottering away in the garden I did find a bunch of lavender hidden behind a large shrub, which I’m pleased about. I love lavender â€“ there’s just so much you can do with it â€“ and today I decided to crystalize some lavender. It looks beautiful on cupcakes and cakes, it tastes heavenly and is a super easy way to preserve this beautiful plant. (While a tasty treat, remember that sugar, regardless of what’s inside it, lowers the immune system, and so shouldn’t be given to children too regularly anyway. If you want to preserve lavender for medicinal or household use, this isn’t the recipe for that!)
Remember the rules of foraging, even if it’s in your back garden, and make sure to pick flowers that you know are edible and have not been sprayed with insecticides. Â When picking the flowers, leave a little of the stem to use as a handle.
A handful of edible flowers
1-2 egg whites, depending on number of flowers
Â½ cup of fine white sugar
- Wash the flowers gently but thoroughly to remove any dirt or insects
- Dry the flowers gently and place the stems in cool water to keep them fresh while you prepare the rest
- Beat the whites of the eggs until they are frothy
- Using a tiny paintbrush, paint each leaf of the flower with the egg white. DO NOT submerge the flower in the egg white as it will absorb too much egg white, won’t dry properly, and will taste of egg.
- Once the lavender flower is properly coated, dip in the bowl of sugar, making sure it is properly coated.
- Gently shake off any excess sugar, and carefully place flowers aside to dry.
- It’ll keep for a few weeks, and looks beautiful as a topping to cupcakes or cake.