Summer is waning and fall is just around the corner. I can feel it the air when I’m out on the porch during these late summer evenings. Before long, at least here in the south, gardeners will be pouring into the nurseries in search of pansies for their annual beds.
Pansies enjoy the cooler weather and if planted in early fall, they will put down good roots that will carry them through the colder temps we see here during the winter. I’ve even had pansies that were covered in snow for a day or two, look as good as new, once the snow melted.
So, why is she is telling us about pansies, you might ask? Well, party season is coming up before too long, and I thought I’d share an easy, fun little “recipe” that is sure to WOW your guest…a recipe for…drum roll, please…blossom ice cubes! Yep, we’re talking ice cubes with gorgeous little flowers tucked right inside!
So here’s how you do it…it’s easy as pie!
Step 1. From your garden, gather and gently rinse some of the blossoms or petals from any flowers that are considered “edible”…you’ll be amazed at just how many are safe for consumption. Examples include: violets, rose petals, pansies, lavender, nasturtiums, begonias and dianthus…but there are so many more! Two websites where you can find an extensive list of edible flowers are HERE and HERE.
NOTE: It is very important to use only those flowers that have NEVER been sprayed with any type of pesticide. Also, do not use flowers, like certain types of roses, if they have been treated with a systemic product for bugs and disease. You will want to use flowers that are considered edible. So be sure to check prior to harvesting your flowers, that the flower isn’t considered unsafe, or even poisonous, if eaten.
Step 2. Boil the water you will be using for 2 minutes. This allows all the air trapped in the water to escape. This will ensure that the ice cubes are crystal clear. Let the water completely cool to room temperature. If you don’t want to boil your water, you may use distilled water and it will work just fine. (When I made my flower cubes, I used distilled water.)
Step 3. Place each blossom at the base of each compartment, within an ice tray…using several trays for larger parties. Below you will see a photo of the trays I used. I like the square shape but you could use any shape ice cube tray.
Step 4. Fill each compartment half full with the completely cooled, boiled or distilled water, then freeze. The reason you want to just fill it half way is because the flowers tend to float to the surface…and you want them to ultimately be in the center of the cube.
Step 5. After the water is frozen solid, fill each ice cube compartment the rest of the way to the top with the remaining, water. It’s best to use chilled/cold water because if the water is too warm, it will melt the cube and the flower will come loose and float to the surface.
Step 6. Refreeze and keep cubes in the freezer until you are ready to use them. One word of caution…do not do what I did and rinse the cubes off. This will cause them to stick together like they are super glued! Yikes! Fortunately, I was able to ice pick them back apart.
You can also freeze a whole punch bowl shape with a variety of blossoms. Don’t use the glass punchbowl or it will expand and burst in the freezer. Instead, pull out a ring-shaped cake tin and fill it with flowers and water. Follow the same procedure as above (filling halfway, then freezing), but you can add additional blossoms to the second layer so that the blossoms are throughout the large ice cube.
You will want to have some ice cubes without blossoms in them for guests who might be squeamish for one reason or another. No one at my dinner party balked at drinking ice tea with blossom cubes…they loved them!
Tip: If you are using ice cubes in wine, make them with the wine you will be drinking. This will prevent dilution of the wine as the ice cube melts. Freeze with a strawberry, a raspberry or a mandarin slice for a delightful, uplifting taste.
Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming parties. If you make some blossom cubes, send me pics and I’ll post them here for all to enjoy!