Happy May Day!

In case you haven’t realized, I love spring. Like, really LOVE spring! Yes, I like winter too, much to people’s surprise - but spring takes the cake. I love how the earth awakens after a season of rest. I love how flowers arrive seemingly overnight and put on a cascading display of color throughout the months, starting with creamy yellows and whites in the daffodils and forsythia, transitioning to purples and pinks in the violets, red buds and tulips, and all the while, a blanket of green is spreading underfoot and overhead! It’s truly remarkable and such a literal breath of fresh air after a cold, dark winter.

As the seasons change, I feel little bursts of creative energy. At this time of year, I turn to nature for inspiration and I love bringing little bits of color into my home, in the form of cut flower arrangements and also as food. So far this year, we have been enjoying fresh nettles, ramps and green garlic. For a birthday celebration, I used some edible flowers and bee pollen to decorate cupcakes. And today, I made some special lollipops for my daughter’s upcoming birthday and our May Day party this weekend!

Fresh flowers before pressing. To press, place them face down on a layer of parchment paper and layer another sheet of parchment on top. Then place between the pages of a book for a week or two, allowing them to dry in place.

Fresh flowers before pressing. To press, place them face down on a layer of parchment paper and layer another sheet of parchment on top. Then place between the pages of a book for a week or two, allowing them to dry in place.

A few weeks back, I gathered some violet and viola flowers from our yard. Please note: we don’t use herbicides or any synthetic chemicals on our property, so they are safe to harvest! Please use care when harvesting any wild edibles and be sure you know how to correctly identify any plants before harvesting!!. I pressed the flowers between the pages of a heavy book, lined with parchment paper. After about a week, they were flattened and dried - they shrunk quite a bit so I will be sure to harvest larger flowers in the future!

A lollipop out in the garden, blends right in!

A lollipop out in the garden, blends right in!

To make the lollipops, I used the Spring Flower Lollipop recipe from Sprinkle Bakes, a favorite go to resource whenever I’m looking for delicious sweets recipes! I adapted it by first making a strong brew of spring flower tea to use in the final recipe. The tea blend I used was a mix of chamomile, lavender, rose, lilac and olive leaves - gathered and prepared by my friend Alex. The aroma was a sweet and delicate one and by using tea rather than an oil flavoring, imparts an overall softer flavor profile to the final lollipops. You can use any tea or herb you’d like, the possibilities are endless!

Spring flower tea lollipops with pressed flowers and bee pollen!

Spring flower tea lollipops with pressed flowers and bee pollen!

Once the tea was brewed, I followed the recipe accordingly, using the tea in place of the water. I used a silicone mold and simply poured some of the prepared lollipop candy into each mold, placed a flower in the center and then topped with more hot candy before placing a lollipop stick in each. If you don’t have a silicone lollipop mold on hand (wait, not everyone had lollipop molds on hand??) fear not! You can use powdered sugar to make a mold - simply pour powdered sugar in a shallow pan about 1 inch deep and use a jar to press little indentations where you will pour the hot candy. You might not believe it will work - I was skeptical the first time I tried it, but it works great and it’s very versatile! You can literally make any shape you want! If you’re using lollipop sticks, be sure you take into consideration the room needed for each stick when you make your molds.

I ran out of flowers before I had poured all of the candy, so I also used bee pollen in a few, following the same method of sandwiching the bee pollen between two layers of hot candy. Once cooled, I wrapped each pop in cellophane, though parchment paper would do just as well. I love how they turned out, each one adorned with a natural bit of flair! Nature’s sprinkles, so to speak. I think they will make a perfect little treat for our May Day party and our nephew Georgie approves - he had a sneak treat today, when he surprised us with a little May Day basket delivery!