What are Crystallized Flowers?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 March 2020
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Crystallized flowers, sometimes called candied flowers, are edible flowers that are treated with a light egg white mixture and sugar and are typically used in cake decorating and cooking. There are a number of different edible flowers, and the process required to “crystallize” them is fairly simple though somewhat time consuming. Such decorative touches are popular on cakes and other desserts, as well as for sweet garnishes on savory dishes, inclusion as part of a beverage, and for unusual appetizers or playful dessert arrangements.

To make crystallized flowers, a person should begin with edible flowers that have not been treated with any kind of pesticide or chemical spray. This is extremely important, as flowers and plants treated with such chemicals can cause severe illness if eaten. Many people grow a number of different edible flowers in their own gardens, and this allows them to ensure that no unhealthy treatments have been included in the handling of the flowers. Flowers intended for crystallization should be picked when in full bloom and at their most visually appealing.


Flowers should be cut from the stem and washed lightly but thoroughly in cold water to ensure that all dirt and insects have been removed from the flower. The flower should then be dried off gently with a paper or cotton towel. Crystallized flowers are made through the application of a meringue-like mixture to the flower, typically using a brush. One or more egg whites, depending on how many flowers are going to be crystallized, should be lightly beaten with a small amount of water. Rose water can be used to add even more floral aroma and flavor, and the mixture should be beaten until foamy but not to the point of soft peaks.

The flower should then be gently held — tweezers can be used to make the process easier — and egg white mixture applied to the flower with a brush. Flowers should not be dipped directly into the mixture as they will soak up too much mixture and not dry properly. The mixture should be brushed onto the flowers in a full coating but not too thickly, and this may require some practice for someone making crystallized flowers for the first time to find the perfect thickness.

Once the entire flower has been coated, it should be sprinkled lightly with sugar. Large decorative or colored crystal types can be used for more prominent decoration, and then placed aside to dry, usually for 24 to 36 hours. As long as the crystallized flowers are stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, they can remain fresh and usable for up to a full year.

This process can be applied to plants other than flowers, such as mint leaves, to create attractive and delicious decoration. While a number of different flowers, such as roses, violets, marigolds, and pansies, are edible, care should be taken to ensure that only edible portions are eaten. Some plants have edible flowers while the berries can be poisonous, or have edible petals but inedible buds. Care should be taken by anyone making crystallized flowers to ensure that the flowers used are edible and not dangerous.



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