Thursday, July 15, 2010

Edible Flowers: Let's Talk Borage

Today, we are taking a break from needles and threads.  The Baking Barrister is back.   You may recall the Barrister's bib cookies, some of the darling bibs were decorated with small purple flowers.  This flower is known as the borage flower.  Today, the Baking Barrister is going to teach us how to dry this edible flower.
I started growing the borage plant four years ago when I curiously let a hairy lettuce plant develop in my garden. The leaves and stem are edible and I often blanch it to use as a spinach substitute. However, the real star of the plant (literally), is the flower. With its five-point petals, purplish-blue colour and sweet mild flavour, borage flower is a darling of the molecular gastronomy scene. It was also recently used by Top Chef du jour Michael Voltaggio.

The borage plant re-seeds itself every year and the flowers bloom and wilt daily during most of July. An average plant will have about 15-20 flowers in full bloom each day during mid-July.

It is unfortunate that the flower wilts and shrivels quite quickly and I recommend that you soak the flower in water for half an hour before using it in a fresh application. My normal treatment of the flower is to line it up (after a quick wash) on a tray and hold down the petals with chopsticks to dry. If you decide to try this, make sure you leave the flower a bit wet so that it sticks on the tray better for drying.
 
After it has dried, you are left with a perfectly flat flower that has the texture of rice paper for your various decorating needs.
Once a year, I sugar the flowers to use for slightly more important events:

All you need is borage flowers (cleaned and dried), 1 egg white (beaten till loose), regular sugar and parchment paper for drying.

 I brush the petals with the egg white, cover it with sugar and let it dry on the parchment overnight.
You may also use special finishing sugars that are used for sugaring, though I find regular sugar perfectly fine for this project. I note my sugar this year was from the bottom of the bag and slightly finer, leading to more coverage. I personally prefer the larger sugar crystals that I used in past years.

Good luck and happy growing, drying and decorating!

Thanks Baking Barrister!  Come back soon!

PS. I am signing off for the weekend, wishing you a happy one,

4 comments:

  1. Hey KJ, you're the winner of the Treasures Uncovered earring giveaway. Thanks for linking to We're Organized Wednesday and congratulations on winning. You get to choose which pair of earrings you get to win, so email me with your mailing address and which par of earrings you would like at leanneja@organizeyourstuffnow.com. Congrats!

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  2. Hi KJ, thanks for popping by and your lovely comment about my daughter's dress. We have a lot of borage here in the UK and in the summer it's sometimes used in Pimms. I don't know if you have that across the pond but it's a very traditional English summer drink, alcoholic, that's mixed with lemonade and we also put in strawberries, cucumber and mint. Seriously delicious!

    Happy crafting - I love the ribbon holder!

    Kate

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  3. Thanks for passing this along! Great information. I posted a link today at Edible Crafts (ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com). Love the bib cookies, too! And the genius cookie cutter idea too.

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  4. Enjoyed this post. I have borage growing at the moment, still only small. I will have to try your drying technique, and also the sugared flowers.

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