Crystalised, candied and glace
The difference between crystallised and candied fruits vary slighty from country to country. Generally, crystallised fruits are coated in a fine layer of sugar. Candied fruits are most familiar to us as fruit cooked repeatedly in a sugar syrup and then often dried, the most familiar being the mixed peel available for baking. Glace fruit is dipped in concentrated sugar syrup to give it a shiny, sticky appearance and the long process makes it quite expensive to buy. The least expensive glace fruit are usually glace cherries but do beware, many of the cheapest are coloured gelatine so read the packet carefully before purchasing.
Delightfully old fashioned, sticky green angelica 'leaves' once decorated many of the cakes in the bakers window.
Preserved angelica is now extremely expensive and hard to find. It has a delicate flavour and is a relatively healthy decoration with no artificial colouring.
In a few days you can easily make your own.
In spring, cut all but the middle few stems from your angelica.
Trim off all the leaves and discard them with any stems thinner than your little finger or any that are very large and coarse.
Cut into 5 cm lengths and boil until tender.
Remove from the pot and cool.
Peel the stems of the shiny outer skin.
This is like stringing celery or rhubarb.
Return to the pot, adding a litttl extra water if you need to to keep them covered, boil until soft and green.
Drain in a colander.
Weigh the stems and return them to the pot, sprinkling over an equal amount of white sugar. Leave for two days for the sugar to dissolve and draw the moisture from the stems.
Bring the pot to the boil, simmer for ten minutes then drain.
Place in an electric dryer and dry on the lowest setting or on racks in a cool oven set at 50 degrees C.
At this stage you can dust them with caster sugar if you like.
Store in an airtight container layered with greaseproof, out of direct light until required.
Use as a grarnish on cakes and desserts or add a couple of chopped pieces to reduce the acidity of rhubarb and gooseberries and other sour fruits which will allow you to reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener you need to add.
Fresh stalks will also reduce acidity.