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crystallized flowers

When I said I started blogging accidentally, I meant I didn’t set out to start a blog on purpose. I was supposed to help a friend start a business website. I didn’t know there was a difference between a website and a blog. That was how clueless I was.

I did have a WordPress account that I used just a couple of times (and I mean exactly twice). Once to document overwintered kales (I was shocked to see they grew back). The other time to document sunburned seedlings (I was shocked to see plants could have too much sun). However, nothing was ever published.

I used WP more as an archive, and a defunct archive at that, since I used it only twice in the 5 years of its existence. This may also explain why WP thinks my Blogiversary is sometime in April, the month when the account was first created 5 years earlier, and not in March, the month when I finally published my first post, 5 years later.

That first published post in March 2013 was supposed to be just a test post. To see if I can learn how to start a website. So I could help a friend with her custom candy creations business. She had asked me to help, thinking that I would be a natural at it, what with my journalism background and all. She was mistaken. I didn’t and still don’t know how to start or run a website, journalism degree or not. But I have a blog now.

crystallized cherry blossoms

A blog that was started not on purpose, and as far as I’m concerned, without any purpose. I see that most bloggers have a reason why they blog. Some to chronicle their travels, some to archive their recipes, some to share their expertise on a particular subject, some to showcase their photos or artwork, some to publish their stories or poems, and some to promote their causes, for profit or non-profit. I, on the other hand, belong to none of these.

I can’t think of any single purpose behind this blog. It’s not like I have anything wise or profound to say, and I rarely have anything of consequence or importance to write about. This blog has absolutely no plan, no reason, no future aspiration whatsoever.

It can’t even follow a singular theme. First, it was about gardening. Then it was about cooking. And right now once again Springfever settles in and all I want to talk about are my plants. Therefore, this is a denfooden (garden + food + garden) blog.

Of course, that will hold true only until I start to get into DIY and crafts and painting, which I know I will. Can I preempt that and move to call this blog, once and for all, a denfoodendo (garden + food + garden + do-it-yourself) blog? The Novice Gardener – A DenFooDenDo Blog. What do you think?

crystallized cherry blossoms

Why am I telling you all this now? This time, thank goodness, there’s a reason. I signed up for Blogging 201 and to my horror, I found myself unable to complete the assignments. I was stuck at assignment #1, which was to think about branding and goals and such. In order to do that, I would need to answer the very basic question of why I blog. I had no answer.

And of course today is the last day of the challenge. Only then I decided to look back and join in the fun. The story of my life.

Crystallized Flowers

  • Time: at least 24 hours of drying time
  • Difficulty: easy, but tedious
  • Print

2 egg whites* (See Note #1)
2 tsp water
20 – 30 small-sized edible flowers and leaves, such as pansies, dandelions, blackberry leaves, roses, and cherry blossoms* (See Note #2)
1 cup superfine sugar (make your own by grinding granulated sugar in a food processor)* (See Note #3)
A small paint brush

1. Combine egg whites and water in a small bowl. Beat until slightly frothy, just to break down the albumin.
2. Hold a flower in one hand. Dip paint brush into the egg whites with the other and gently paint the flower, on both sides. Try to cover as much of the surface as possible, but don’t use excessive amount of liquid.
3. While still wet, gently sprinkle sugar all over flower. Shake gently to remove excess amount of sugar.
4. Place flower on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the flowers.
5. Air dry for at least 24 hours, but you might want to check on them and gently lift them off the paper every now and then to avoid sticking.* (See Note #4)

Notes:
1. If you’re worried about salmonella, use meringue powder mixed with water, instead.
2. Cherry trees are revered in Japanese culture and the leaves and blossoms have traditionally been used to flavor food and drink, as Weebirdie’s post shows. However, I have never eaten any cherry blossom and can’t definitively tell you what variety is suitable for eating. These flowers are used purely as decoration.
3. Most recipes will tell you to use superfine sugar, but you should experiment. I used both superfine and granulated sugar, and I think the granulated sugar gives these flowers a more “crystallized” look.
4. Some recipes tell you that you can hasten the drying process by putting the flowers in the oven at very low temperature. I tried it at 200°F and they came out a mess.

So what do Crystallized Flowers have anything to do with Blogging 201? Nothing much. Except that all these Spring blooms are only here for a fleeting moment, just like Blogging 201 assignments. Before you know it, they’ll be done. I wished I had tried harder at completing the assignments. Regrets always come too late. Lesson learned, I’m making the most with these Spring flowers to capture their beauty and preserve it while I can.

cherry blossoms

And “About This Blog (Part II)” may have something to do with them.

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