HERB - period flower candying

Gaylin Walli iasmin at home.com
Tue Apr 24 20:50:12 PDT 2001

Despina asked this a while back:

>I cannot find what I am sure I had somewhere - a period process
>(documented) on how to candy flowers.  I want to do some of the violets in
>my back yard (okay, I'lll do it in the kitchen) and the pear blossoms, but
>I want to be sure that I am doing it correct for SCA period.

And continued with:

>Usually I just beat an egg white, paint the petals and sugar, but I can't
>find anything that says this is period. Help?

I mailed her period references today and thought that perhaps people
might want to share, since I'd sent it in private instead of responding
to the request on the list. Here are the quick list of references I have
on hand...

Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt book, dated 1605 reads:

"CANDIE FLOWERS  take your flowers, & spread them abroad on a
paper, then clarifie sugar as you do for rock candie, let it boile
till it bee more than candie  height, then put in your flowers with
the stalks upward, & the flowers downeward, as soone as they be
through wet in the syrupe take them out, & with a knife spread
them abroad on a pieplate, & set them where they may dry."

Sir Hugh Plat's Delightes for Ladies, dated 1609 reads:

"How to preserve whole Roses, Gilliflowers, Marigolds, &c. Dip a
Rose that is neyther in the bud nor ouerblowne, in a Sirrup,
consisting of sugar double refined, and Rosewater boiled to his true
height, then open the leaues one by one, with a fine smooth bodkin
either of bone or wood, and presently if it be a hot sunnie day, and
whilest the sunne is in some good height, lay them on papers in the
sunne, or else drie them with some gentle heate in a close roome,
heating up the roome before you set them in, or in an ouen vpon papers,
in pewter dishes, and then  put  them vp in glasses and keep them
in drie cupbords neere the fire. You must  take out the seedes if
you meane to eat them. You may prooue this,  preseruing with sugar
candie, instead of sugar if you please."

Gervase Markham's English Hous-wife dated roughly 1615 reads:

"To candy any Roots, Fruits, or Flowers Dissolve sugar, or sugar-
candy in Rose-water. Boile it to an height. Put in your roots, fruits
or flowers,  the sirrop being cold. Then rest a little; after take them
out, and boyl  the sirrop again. Then put in more roots, etc. Then
boyl the sirrop the third time to an hardness, putting in more Sugar,
but not Rose-water. Put  in the roots, etc. The sirrop being cold, and
let them stand till they candy."

Culpepper's Herbal, a bit out of period at 1652, states:

"Lastly, amongst the Barks, Cinnamon, amongst the Flowers, Roses,
and  Marigolds, amongst the fruits, Almonds, Cloves, Pinenuts, and
Fistick-nuts,  are said to be preserved but with this difference, they
are encrusted with  dry sugar, and are more called confects than

There are certainly a number of references in herbals to candied
flowers, but few that actually detail the candying process like these
do. Anyone have anything from before 1605 that details the actual
process for candying flowers specifically (not seeds or roots or
spices or fruit)?

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