At the moment we are lucky enough to have banks of violets creating seas of purple along footpaths. I've had a childlike delight at finding them and breathing in their scent. It's a perfume that takes me straight to Parma Violet sweets, I cannot quite believe that these delicate little flowers smell so potent. The girls have enthusiastically joined in spotting them, sniffing them like rooting pigs, the way small children do, and then begging to pick them. So we've become Victorian and have learnt how to preserve them by sugaring them, and inevitably it's the sugar bit that is the most inspiring for the children.
We chose some violet flowers in perfect condition and picked about twenty which left enough for the bees and were few enough for them to be real treasures.
Once home they need to be washed very carefully so as not to damage them.
Each flower needs to be coated either in egg white or a cooled sugar syrup (1/3 sugar to 2/3 water) with a fine paint brush.
Then each flower can be sprinkled with caster sugar until it is finely coated all over. The flowers are then left to dry on baking paper.
Once completly dry they can be kept in an airtight container for up to three months.
These were made with Little L's heavy handed assistance; if you want something looking more professional, perhaps it's something to wait to do until after bedtime...
If you don't want spend the time preserving them, a lot of edible flowers are beautiful in salads eaten straight away.
We take care to only ever pick wild flowers where there is a true abundance and away from roadsides and other sources of pollution, especially pesticides, herbicides etc.
Some other edible flowers suitable for sugaring are borage, primroses, nasturtiums, rose petals, cherry blossom...