Spring Flower Recipes! – Beauty and Cosmetics Herbs
|May 21, 2011||Posted by admin under Herb Gardening|
Spring has sprung and I have assembled some lovely flower crafts to take advantage of our cool weather florals. Easy to do, and several of these ideas make fabulous gifts!
Each year spring comes and we get lovely but often short lived flowers that we can actually enjoy for a longer time by doing something with them! So, I assembled some interesting assorted recipes for you so you can create your own springy delights!
You can make a lilac perfume with the abundance of lilac blooms in the spring. At present, lilacs are now appearing here in the midwest so even though we still have some cold spells, now is the time to go get them! For a perfume you will need a few healthy bunches of lilacs and about 2 cups of cold pressed light oil such as sunflower, grapeseed or sweet almond. First, make sure the lilacs are dry and not still covered with morning dew or water from rainfall. Then pick off the flowers and stuff into a quart size jelly jar. Pour over the all the oil. Allow this to infuse no more than 10 hours otherwise it turns sour from over infusing them. (You can also put the whole thing in the refrigerator which will allow you to keep them there overnight if you don’t think you can remember to check them again within the 10 hour period.) When infusion time is up, strain the flowers out with a handheld mesh seive and press the flowers too so you get all the oil from them. Now go back out, get more lilacs and repeat this process.
Older herbals will also say you can “wash” the oil with alcohol once the oil is the strength of scent you desire. To do this, simply pour the scented oil into a larger glass container and add about a cup of vodka to it. Cover the container and shake this misture daily for at least a week or more. What happens is the alcohol will take on the scent of the oil. When this process is complete, you can simply pour the scented alcohol off since it easily floats to the top of the container and separates naturally from the oil. Decant, and you can add some fragrant essential oils to this as well. Also, using the washing method, the alcohol can be cut with distilled water, essentials added, and put in an atomizer for a springy spray perfume!
And did you know that Lilacs are edible flowers? Yes! However, they are rather bitter and so not pleasing by most palates if eaten in their raw state. However, one thing you can do with them is crystallize small bunches and store to use later as cake decoration or add as garnsish to fruit salads. YUM! Here’s how: first, gather and rinse the bunches of lilacs, and be sure to get smaller bunches or break large bunches up. You will also need egg whites and castor sugar. First, beat up some egg whites, I would say at least 6 for lilac candying. Then, dip the bunches in the beaten whites then immediately dip into a bowl of castor sugar. Coat well then place the dipped bunches onto wax paper and put this onto any rack so air can circulate all around. A bakers or cookie rack works great. Now you can dry these two ways. If you are in a warm DRY climate you can put them on the top of a refrigerator or other similar dry area. You can also set your oven to very low, like 150 degrees and put the rack in the oven to dry. You do not want to cook the lilacs. What you want is to simulate dry warmth. When dry, you can store these in tupperware containers lined with fresh wax paper.
Here is another lilac idea using other spring flowers; make a floral vinegar for yourself or to give as a gift! You will need some smaller bunches of lilac and a spring flower such as pansy and violet. If using sweet violets, do include some of the nutritious green leaves too! You will also need some white wine vinegar and rice wine vinegar (also white) if you have some as well as a clean pretty glass bottle or jar with a cover or stop of some sort. Rinse the flowers first, both pansies, violets and lilac and let air dry. Then, put the pansies and violets into the glass bottle and after this the lilac bunches. You do not want to overstuff the jar so much that you cannot add sufficient vinegar to it. Once flowers are in place, funnel the white wine and rice vinegar (if blending them) into the bottle and stop shut. You may even want to seal the stop with a wax seal or a wine bottle shrink band. IMMEDIATELY, put this now gorgeous looking vinegar in the refrigerator and keep it there. You can save it to use yourself or add a bow and give it as a practical and beautiful gift. The flowers WILL infuse just fine cold as given in these directions. Flowers are more delicate than herbs and heating the vinegar will create a loss of the lovely color that makes this such a stunning gift or table decoration. Try it!
Speaking of violets, how about some lovely violet jelly! It’s a simply thing to do and can be stored using smaller sized jelly jars to give as a gift as well. Here’s how: Select the real purple violet blossoms and gather about 4 cups. (This will make approximately a pint sized amount maybe a bit more…) Once flowers are gathered (no leaves otherwise the color will not be as pretty) put them in a large glass jar or container and pour about 2 cups boiling water over them and cover. Let this infuse at room temp overnight. The next day, strain out the flowers and you will notice that much of their color has been infused into the water. Add to the infusion the juice of a lemon, and one packet of powdered pectin. Put this onto the heat and bring to a boil and when boiling stir in just under 4 cups of sugar stirring until all is dissolved. Now bring this back to a boil and boil it hard at least one full minute. Pour this into sterile pint sized jelly jars and seal shut. You will have extra but you can adjust the recipe a bit to make more or less as you like.
Don’t know about you, but as I type this in (it’s Endora!) I already have chive blossoms ready to burst and its only april 22! Of course, newly seeded chives won’t do this but I have growth from earlier seasons. Here is a lovely chive and parsley butter you can make to add to your dinner party, hor’s d’eouvres hour or whatever occasion you want some dressier accompaniments. It is great for fresh breads, crackers and vegetables! Heres how: take about 2 tablespoon chopped fresh chive and parsley for every pound of butter and beat together. Add a bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice and incorporate as well with some sea salt and coarse ground black pepper. The beating of these items will result in a sort of whipped butter that can be packed into wax paper lined bread trays or other interesting container shapes to make a molded butter when chilled. Or, simply put into a decorative bowl, top with fresh chive blossom and wallah! A sexy, tasty, lovely to look at table accompaniment. (smile!)
Clove pinks, the gillyflower which is the dianthus variety of carnation are now starting to appear. These flowers have many uses from soups to salads, but I rather enjoy making an easy brandy of them. Gather new flowers when they just appear and remove from the stem. To a typical sized bottle of plain brandy you will need about 2 cups of flowers twice over or more depending on the strenth you like. Simply stuff a jelly jar or large clean wine bottle with the picked flowers, pour brandy over to fill the bottle, stop it shut and leave it for a week. Once this time is up, take more flowers, and replace the old with the new so that the same brandy is being infused repeatedly with new flowers. Two or three repeats should be enough. I also like to add some whole cloves and a cinnamon stick to my brew too! Once the flower infusion part is to your satisfaction strain all remaining flowers and herbs out, and allow the brandly to rest about a week in a cool spot. This will give time for any sediments to settle to the bottom. Funnel the clear brandy portion into a clean new bottle and seal.
Rondoletia- A Classic Herbal Perfume
This perfume is a creation of the 16th century herbalist who authored books by the name of “Rondoletia”. It uses essentail oils which are not necessarily from flowers that bloom in the spring. Yet, it is such a lovely and classic fragrance it is fun to make anyway! Here’s how:
This composition calls for the addition of musk which I personally do not use nor recommend as true musk causes great pain to to the musk deer from which this scent comes is obtained; as well as ambergris which comes from whales. I have thus replaced the musk and ambergris portions with with sandalwood; however, you can also buy a sythetic musk which is not made from an animal (but is a chemical) to substitute also if you like. Recipe as follows:
-3/4 oz. lavender essential oil
-1/8th teaspoon clove essential oil
-1/4 teaspoon bergamot essential oil
-1/2 teaspoon sandalwood essential oil
Put these oils into about 3/4 pint of pure grain alcohol or triple distilled vodka. You can cut this also with distilled water to lessen the alcohol scent OR vegetable glycerin. Agitate daily for one week and let rest another week before using. It can be put in a perfume decanter or a spray atomizer. Experiment and you may also come up with your own similar but unique creation!