There was no waffling or indecision when whoever it was, came up with the name for this stately and aromatic plant, Angelica Archangelica. Ruled by the Sun, Angelica is a fragrant, medicinal and culinary delight in all its parts.
- Medicinally it is a specific for all things digestion related, yet also excellent for respiratory complaints such as Bronchitis, cold, cough and flu. Angelica is considered carminative, stimulating, a diaphoretic, stomachic, tonic, and expectorant. It is traditionally used to heal and tone the urinary tract and is a comfort in the winter when one has a chill. Taken hot as a tea it helps produce a sweat and break a fever.
Like the Sun, its energy and effects are warming, uplifting, stimulating and energizing.
- A tincture made from the root of Angelica makes an excellent natural perfume musk, a warm and spicy base note if one does not want to use animal derived musks
- From a culinary point of view, the seeds when dried, keep well, and are incorporated in recipes for liqueurs, cakes, cookies and confections. Angelica has been widely used historically for liquors and beverages. Chartreuse and Vermouth are among some of the traditional liqueurs distilled with Angelica, while most digestives and “Bitters” include Angelica in their ingredients. Angelica leaves have been an additive to beers with, and instead of hops. Stalks, seeds and root, when thinly sliced can all be candied, used medicinally or for flavouring.
All parts of the Angelica plant are healing, warming and balancing to the gastrointestinal tract, stimulating appetite and digestion, settling a stomach after eating and eliminating flatulence.
If anyone is familiar with the fragrance of Angelica , they will know immediately what a culinary delight it would be if candied.Though it’s said only the tender Spring stalks,(available till mid-May), are recommended for candying, I plan to test this theory shortly in the month of June. I will post my findings when I have finished the process.
Until then I will leave you with a wonderful recipe for candied Angelica stalks which I adapted slightly and recently used with great results. Candied Angelica is excellent before and after a meal, when one is feeling bloated or “gassy”, it can be incorporated in candies, cakes and ice cream, or used to add flavour to shakes and other treats. In short, candied Angelica stalks are really yummy and make a lovely treat at any time of the day or night.
The syrup of Angelica, used for the candying process should not be wasted. It can be thinned a bit for use as a pancake or ice cream syrup, or used to “feed” ones Spring Dandelion Wine if it is still hungry for sugar to turn into alcohol, or if it requires a little extra sweetness and flavour before bottling. (Be sure to read up on the proper way to add sugar to wine when one does not want further fermentation but only a higher sugar content). I am sure creative minds can find many useful applications for this fragrant sweet liquid.
One of the secrets to making nice-looking candied Angelica stalks, is to use a little baking soda in the blanching process. This keeps the color a vivid green. Boiling the sugar syrup till it reaches 140-145 degrees Hi Joanna. Yes you are right. I corrected this in a later version, but not in this post.
The sugar water will heat above the boiling point of water once the water evaporates from it. So; When you blanche the stalks, it is 100 Celcius.
When you “cook” them the first time,,before the second and final cooking, assures a translucence and high sugar, (low water), content in the stems. If using this method for candying, I find it is usually easiest to split the stalks lengthwise in half. Though keeping the tubes whole and round does look nice, it is difficult to find a balance between keeping their shape and bringing them to the desired tenderness without having them collapse on themselves. I opted for tenderness. I will leave it to you to decide whether to keep them as whole tubes or flat strips. Also, I have found that cutting them to 4 inch lengths, works better for me than 6 to 8 inch lengths as some of the old and traditional recipes call for.
Candied Angelica will keep for at least a couple of years if properly stored in a sealed dry container preferably in a dark cool place, though rarely will it last that long before the last sweet crumbs are gone..
I think that is it for insights and comments, I have tried a few recipes over the years, this is my favourite for this traditional and delightful treat. Enjoy! And please feel free to let me know how your Candied Angelica stalks turn out or if you have any questions along the way.
A Recipe for Candied Angelica Stalks
(Yields about 400 Grams of candied Angelica stalks).
- Harvest enough young green Angelica stalks to give you 500 grams, (approximately a pound) or so when cleaned. If you harvest the thicker, large stalks, they will work well and are firm enough to keep their shape. The narrower tubes, all the way up to the leaves, will be firm enough to use and will work well. So stay away from the more delicate offshoots of the plant, or plants that are very young. Second year plants or older should be used. You will need;
- 2 cups sugar,about 500 grams.
- 2 cups water about 1/2 liter.
- 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda.
- Enough water to just cover stalks for blanching.
- Sugar, granulated, or fine confectioners sugar for coating.
- An airtight container.
METHOD OF PREPARATION
- Cut Angelica stalks into 4 inch sections. You can use many of the narrower diameter “tubes” closer to the leaves.
- Bring enough water to just cover your cut stalks, to a boil.
- Add baking Soda
- Add your cut stalks and boil for 5 minutes or so, or until they are noticeably tender when pricked with a fork.
- Remove from boiling water, plunge into cold water or cold running water till cool.
- Use a knife to strip away or peel the stalks from the fibers that run their length. Much like Celery. See photo.
- For each 500 grams of uncooked Angelica stalks take 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water, bring sugar and water to a boil.
- Boil peeled Angelica stalks in sugar syrup for 5 minutes, (only). When cooled remove and cover the stalks with the syrup in a glass container or pan, cover and let stand for 1-2 days.
- Separate the syrup, boil it till it reaches 125 degrees Celcius.
- Let cool and pour syrup over stalks in the glass vessel or pan again and let stand again covered for 1-2 days.
- Separate and pour syrup into a pot. Bring to boil, and boil it until the temperature of the syrup reaches 140- 145 degrees Celcius.
- Add stalks and boil for 5 minutes or so until they are translucent, (partially see through).
- Use tongs and remove stalks from syrup. Let them drip dry on a rack.
- Pour granulated or confectioners sugaronto a plate. Coat them with sugar. press each side in firmly if you sliced them into flat strips.
- Put them on a rack and dry them in the oven at a very low temperature. (90 Celcius).
- After 1/2 hour to 2 hours when they are not sticky, but before they get brittle, pull the rack out of the oven, let them come to room temperature and pack them loosely in a sealed jar. Note, make sure you let them cool to room temperature first, otherwise they will release moisture into the jar which will condense and may spoil them after a few weeks.
- Store and enjoy.