Commonly known as heartsease for its medicinal properties, Viola tricolor has long been used as an edible flower, sprinkled on salads or desserts. It makes a dainty plant, with pretty little violet- and yellow-faced miniature pansy flowers. The flavour is delicate and perfumed.
Pick the flowers when they have just opened and leave them in cold water to swell up slightly before scattering on to salads. To crystallise flowers, use a fine brush to paint them with egg white and scatter with caster sugar. Leave to dry for two hours. Use within a week, on top of cakes or puddings.