Next time, you’re in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, look at the community herb plot for an arresting display of blue flowers on the borage plants.
The flowers are star-shaped and can be added to salads, frozen in water in ice cube trays for fancy ice cubes when serving drinks, or sugared, like violets, to garnish cupcakes for a garden party.
Borage is an ancient herb and has other uses, too. For one thing, it is an excellent soil enhancer as it contains calcium and potassium. It also attracts beneficial insects especially bees, and is said to repel tomato hornworms when planted alongside tomato plants.
But my favorite use is to make crystallized flowers. And, it’s easy.
Recipe for Crystalized Flowers
Pick the flowers when they are dry and fully open. You can also do this with violets, rose petals, nasturtiums, and pansies.
Lightly beat an egg white. In a separate shallow bowl, have a 1/4 cup of superfine granulated sugar. With a paintbrush, paint the egg white onto the flower getting into all the nooks and crannies. Then dip it into the sugar. You may want to use a second paintbrush to get the sugar well distributed. Shake off the excess sugar and place the flowers on parchment paper to dry. Once dry, use them to decorate your cakes, desserts, pancakes. They even look pretty on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The community herb bed is grown for the use of all the Pitney Meadows Community Garden gardeners. If you would like to join us next season and have access to the plants, let me know.