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Candied Botanicals and Syrup

February is a time for romance, and what better way to set the mood than with these elegant candied flower petals and berries?  And to make it even sweeter, all of the ingredients are available at the Valley Co-op!  I chose hibiscus flower petals, which have a tart and fruity snap, and elderberries, which are sweeter and more delicate, both of which are available from Frontier Natural Co-op in our bulk section; however, you could easily adapt the recipe for any botanical.  It’s fun to experiment with the different flavor possibilities!  These are deceptively simple to make and will create the perfect garnish or dessert topping for Valentine’s Day or year-round.
  • 1/4 c hibiscus flowers, elderberries, or other flavorful botanicals (fresh or dried) [Litton’s Produce & BerriesFrontier Natural Co-op, or United Natural Foods, Inc.]
  • 1/2 c sugar [United Natural Foods, Inc.] or honey [F&D Apiaries]
  • 1/2 c water
  • powdered sugar [United Natural Foods, Inc.] (optional)
  • ice cream [Trickling Springs Creamery] or other food base (optional)
1) Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium-low heat while stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.
CandiedBot1
2) Add botanicals and stir for two to five minutes.  This is where experimentation is helpful, because depending on the freshness and potency of your botanicals, you may need to let them cook longer in the syrup.  It’s important to taste the syrup to make sure it’s absorbed enough flavors from the botanicals, but it’s also important to taste the botanicals themselves to make sure that they’re not losing all their flavor to the syrup.  Find a happy medium that you like, and then take the mixture off the heat.

 

3) Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Use a slotted spoon to strain out the botanicals and lay them out on the cookie sheet in a single layer.  For very tart botanicals, such as hibiscus flowers, you may want to dust them with powdered sugar.  Cover the sheet loosely with a breathable cloth or paper towel and leave them to dry out, preferably overnight.

 

4) Put the syrup back on the heat and reduce to about 1/4 cup.  Pour into a small mason jar or other suitable container.  When the botanicals are dry, place them in a separate container.

 

candiedbot25) Use them!  I like to drizzle some syrup over a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Trickling Springs Creamery and sprinkle a few of the botanicals on top.  You could also drizzle/sprinkle them over a sponge cake, use them in milkshakes or cocktails, or anywhere your imagination and taste buds take you!

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