Hello Friends and Fellow Clean Water Raingers, 

I hope you enjoyed a nice spring break and now back to studying hard and making good grades.  I also hope you are taking time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. It is a great time to go for a walk in the watershed, and everywhere you look, something is budding or blooming.  Violets are one of my favorite flowers blooming right now. They grow wild in our yard and the field next door.  They are so beautiful and don’t need any pampering. Now that is the kind of plant I like.

Violets

Violets in Spring bloom. Photo by Jennifer Michaels

 

Well, I was trying to decide what I would do with the kids at our after school program last week and thought of my violets outside. “I’ll do something with edible flowers” I thought to myself.  I am a retired personal chef and love to play with food.  Every year in April, one of the special desserts I would make for my clients was chocolate lavender cupcakes topped with a sugared violet. Yummy!

I must start with a note of caution. Make sure an adult helps you identify flowers that are edible if you want to try them. There are many edible flowers, and also many that are not safe to eat.

Sugared violets are simply violet blossoms painted with pasteurized egg whites and sprinkled with sugar, then left to dry a bit. Lavender is a flower that has many uses.  The blossoms smell wonderful both fresh and dried.  For culinary use, most people use dried lavender, which is available at local stores.  Below are photos of a lavender plant and the dried lavender that I use for cooking.  Butterflies and bees also like lavender flowers, as you can see in the photo.

Lavender

Getting back to my after school class, we sampled candied violets, chocolate lavender cupcakes, and hibiscus flower tea (also called Jamaica).  The kids had fun and so did I.  Food is fun.  It can be a new adventure, so don’t miss out.  You may or may not like a food item, but at least you will be able to say that you tried it.  Who knows….it may become you new favorite food.

If you are interested in making my chocolate lavender cupcakes with the help of your Mom or Dad, I am including the recipe below.  Happy eating!

 

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake