Entertaining with Violet Flowers and Ice
In Minnesota our spring season has started out somewhat slow…or maybe I’m just being a little impatient. The violet flowers have just started to come out and a few dandelions are peeking through the greening grass. This means I had better get started making ice cubes and ice rings to prepare for summer fun. One of my favorite things to do when entertaining is to offer beverages with violet flowers and mint ice cubes. I always make an ice ring for those occasions when a large punch bowl is used.
I was fortunate to winter over a few of my mint plants. So it means I can start with mint and violets in my first batch of ice cubes. I have an orange mint and a spearmint plant, both are excellent to use. As the spring and summer goes on we will have many flowers and herbs to make many different kinds of ice cubes and ice rings. The next flower to come into bloom will be the honeysuckles which are beautiful and are wonderful in ice cubes and rings.
I like to harvest flowers and herbs in the morning when I know I will be making ice cubes and ice ring the next day. A good practice is to mist the flowers and herbs with water to clean any dirt off the night before harvesting. The morning sun will dry them so they are ready for harvest by morning. Once you have picked your flowers and herbs just check them over to make sure they are clean of any remaining dirt.
You can use any ice cube tray or Jell-O-mold you have on hand but I have found that the silicon molds work quit well. They are large and have a nice area to work when floating your flowers and herbs in them.
I like to put the cubed tray or mold onto a cookie sheet or whatever type of tray that will fit into your freezer. It just keeps the silicon a little more stable when you have to carry it to the freezer.
When making ice cubes I fill each ice cube up half way with distilled water and float my mint first then the flowers next. This will formulate an attractive ice cube where the flower and herbs are in the mold center rather than just floating on top. I find that working with distilled water keeps the cubes clearer and reduces foggy ice. The flowers and herbs will display better when using distilled water. You may also use boiled water to make your ice cube as this will do the same as distilled water. See what works best for you.
The next day, remove your ice cubes from the freezer and fill them up the rest of the way. Once your cubes are fully frozen take them out of the tray and put them into a Ziploc bag for future use.
If you are like me I just get excited to pull beautiful cubes out of my freezer to put into a beverage. It is so fun seeing those little flowers floating in my guests glasses. Something as simple as violet flowers adds such beauty to your guest’s glass.
When I make my larger ice molds I will use a small to medium size mold. I have a small metal Jell-O-mold that works very nice; but if you have any other molds you can use than as well. Here again silicon molds would be great. It depends on the size of your punch bowl or how you are going to use it. Remember when using a larger mold you will be want to see the flowers at the bottom because that is really the top of the mold when you take it out. So fill the bottom with a small amount of distilled water and turn your violet flowers upside down so you can see them later on top. Each day take the mold from the freezer and add a new layer of flowers and herbs; until you have it full. Once it is frozen use a small amount of warm water to releases it from the mold. Then put back on the tray. Make sure you line the tray with parchment paper so it doesn’t freeze to the tray or it will be difficult get it off. Later take the ice mold off of the tray and parchment paper and put into a Ziploc bag to keep for future use.
You guest will find this very charming and they will be excited about having flowers in their drinks. Give it a try and impress your guests with great violet flower ice cubes or rings.