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Candied Flowers Great Way to Preserve Summer
You can make candy out of flowers, according to a Virginia farm woman who revived the ancient Victorian art to start a thriving business selling her candied creations.
Jo Pendergraph, who grows herbs along with her husband Rob, says candying flowers is not a new idea. The colorful confections were popular in Victorian times when flowers were used as gifts on sentimental occasions.
Violets, rose petals, pansies, and many other flowers and herbs can be candied. Following old-fashioned recipes, Pendergraph paints each petal with egg white and then sprinkles it with granulated sugar. Once the sugar has hardened and the flowers have crystallized, she stores them in air-tight containers. It takes about an hour to do a dozen pansies. Edible leaves - such as mint and violet - go a lot faster.
Crystallized flowers keep for months and can be used to decorate cakes or served to surprised guests as an after-dinner treat.
Pendergraph started candying flowers a little over a year ago in an effort to find a way to produce more income from the family's herb and vegetable business. Area chefs liked the idea and then a buyer from Bloomingdales in New York City saw the flowers and placed an order. Since then she's been shipping hundreds of candied flowers and herbs to the store for $45 per hundred pieces.
The Pendergraphs sell their produce directly to local area stores and restaurants. In addition to candied flowers, they sell a vast array of herbs and edible flowers and specialty vegetables such as yellow pear tomatoes. Edible flowers such as blooms from chives, nasturtiums, snapdragons, pansies, and bergamot, which are used to brighten up salads and dinner plates, sell for $2.50 a dozen. Another popular seller is a blend of salad greens, at $10 a pound, that consists of endive, arugula, mache, cress and ornamental kale.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jo & Rob Pendergraph, Makintown Herbs, Midlothian, Va. 23113 (ph 804 794-7487).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #5