1. Gather edible flower blossoms and rinse them in cold water to remove garden dust or bits ol soil. Gather only blossoms from plants that have never been sprayed or treated with any type of insect- or disease-killing sprays.
  2. Till ice cube trays half-full with water.
  3. Put I blossom (for small-petaled flowers) or I individual petal (of large-petaled flowers) in each compartment of the tray.
  4. Put the trays in the freezer and freeze the cubes until set.
  5. Remove the trays from the freezer and fill them to the top with water.
  6. Return the trays to the freezer and let the cubes freeze solid.

The secret to making ice cubes with ftower and herb blossoms in the center is to fill ice cube trays only halfway with water and flowers at first. Freeze the partially-filled trays enough to set, then top the trays with more water and freeze them solid.

Caution: Before using any type of flower to make floral ice cubes, be sure that you've verified that the flower is edible and that you've identified the flower correctly. If you're in doubt, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for information on edible flowers and for help in identifying particular flowers. Don't use flowers from plants that have been fertilized with manure or manure tea. Also, never make floral ice cubes with flowers that you've bought from a florist or supermarket—the flowers may have been treated with chemical sprays.

For that special touch when serving iced tea or other cold beverages, pour them over floral ice cubes. To create the colorful cubes, just add whole blossoms or individual petals of any edible flower, such as calendula or violets, to ice cube trays. The floral ice is perfect for chilling drinks, including herbal teas, at a summer garden party.

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Al-In-One Herbal V/inegar

Pat Reppert, owner of Shale Hill Farm and Herb Gardens in Saugerties, New York, hosts a daily radio cooking show and makes gourmet herbal specialties, including single-ingredient and combination herbal vinegars. She finds that single-herb vinegars sell best because they're more versatile in cooking and because they add zip to salads and sauces without fat, sugar, or salt.

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