Floral sugar is one of the key ingredients in many edible flower recipes. The sugar absorbs the flavour and fragrance of the flowers and allows you to both extend the season and enjoy wonderful flowery summer flavours year round, plus it also allows the essential flavour of flowers to be imparted into a whole host of dishes. The best bit about it is that it is incredibly easy to make. All you need is some organic seasonal flowers and some regular caster sugar.
This method involves layering flowers with sugar in a jar and leaving for between a week and ten days - with an occasional shake. Ensure that your flowers are clean, completely dry and organic. Don't use shop bought flowers because they've been sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals to preserve the flowers and these will also be absorbed by the sugar. Make sure that the flowers are completely covered with the sugar and after a week or so sieve the flowers out of the sugar and discard. The sugar can then be stored in a dry dark place for a number of months and substituted for regular sugar when baking or even sprinkled over your wheatabix in the morning if that is what takes your fancy! This method works particularly well with fine or dryish textured flowers or petals such as lavender and other herb flowers such as fennel or sage. If your flowers are either slightly damp or quite fleshy then the sugar will absorb the moisture and you'll eventually end up with a solid lump in your jar. Still usable but only if you've a pickaxe!
The second method, blitzing follows the same method as above but the flowers only need remain in the sugar mix for three or four days. At the end of this time the sugar and flower mixture is blitzed with a food or hand processor. The resulting mixture will take on the some colour from the petals and will retain flecks of petals throughout. It will also be much wetter in texture. This sugar will keep for a couple of days but gradually the petals will start to fade and grow brown so it is best used fresh when it is blitzed. It is ideal for making icing, or meringues or for recipes where those lovely little jewels of colour will be seen. You can even rim your cocktail glasses with it.
The final method is to pulp the sugar and flower petals together using a petal and mortar. This produces the greatest fragrance and flavour and is particularly successful as a basis for jams, sauces or syrups where either the pulp is a bonus or where the end produce is going to be strained. The abrasive sugar reduces the flowers to a delicious gloup which can then form the basis of a floral syrup. This works really well with petals such as roses. If you decide to strain the end result then I would recommend spooning the pulpy residue on some yogurt or ice-cream or even smeared over toast. Yum! Your floral syrup is lovely with fruit salads or for mixing with fizz for a very posh floral cocktail.