One of my very favorite things about living in the mountains of Western North Carolina is that you can always find the time to take a walk and explore nature. And nature you can eat is everywhere! Lately, my obsession has been picking edible violet flowers to freeze into ice cubes to add color to my beverages. I was particularly inspired by this work in our Collection from Stephen Dee Edwards. His untitled glass work appears so still and clear just like ice with a bright pop of color floating in it. These ice cubes are my favorite way to spice up a classic cocktail in the evenings or add to my spa water (lemon and mint) during the day.
- 32 edible violets
- One ice cube tray
- (And your favorite cocktail!)
Before you get started:
It’s very important to identify the flowers and confirm they are not poisonous prior to eating. You should only consume flowers that have been grown with either no pesticides or only pesticides labeled for edible crops, and without the application of animal manure to the surrounding soil in the past four months. It’s best to harvest at peak bloom and use quickly for best flavor.
- Take a walk! I discovered edible violets in my neighborhood a few years ago and have always enjoyed their bright purple and pure white colors. They look beautiful in the grass and in the glass. Again, it’s important to make sure that wherever you pick your violets, that you are completely sure that no fertilizer/chemicals have been used on the grass.
- Pick flowers! I like to place two flowers in each ice cube tray, so ideally 32 flowers each for a standard 8 x 2 tray.
- Wash flowers and let dry in a colander or on a paper towel. Next remove the stems.
- Fill ice cube trays with water. Place flowers face-up. It’s important to use your toothpick to press down and fully immerse the flowers in water to allow for the petals to open and so that they are fully frozen and do not stick out of the water.
- You’re ready to freeze! It should take three to four hours, but you can leave them in the trays for as long as you would like. When you’re ready, remove the ice cubes gently in order to make sure they remain whole with the flowers fully intact. (I remove mine from the tray and keep them in a gallon freezer bag for easy access.)
- The best step yet! Add to a cocktail or mocktail! My favorite cocktail for this is a classic gin and tonic, but I also love experimenting with making my own simple syrups. My most recent creation was a vodka-based cocktail with fresh lemon juice and a raspberry fennel simple syrup, topped off with a little seltzer water (pictured in the image gallery). The color combinations really pop! I’m thinking of naming this cocktail “The Stephen Dee” 😊.
~ Contributed by Communications/External Affairs Assistant Devon Fero