This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"The process is quite simple. The theory is to extract the juice from the fruit and replace it with sugar-syrup, which, upon hardening, preserves the fruit from decay and, at the same time, retains the natural shape of the fruit. All kinds of fruit are capable of being preserved under this process. The exact degree of ripeness is of great importance, which is at that stage when fruit is best for canning. Peaches, pears, etc., are pared and cut in halves as for canning; plums, cherries, etc., are pitted. The fruit having thus been carefully prepared, is then put in a basket or a bucket, with a perforated bottom, and immersed in boiling water. The object of this is to dilute and extract the juice of the fruit. The length of the time the fruit is immersed is the most important part of the process. If left too long, it is overcooked and becomes soft; if not immersed long enough, the juice is not sufficiently extracted, which prevents a perfect absorbtion of the sugar. The next step is the syrup, which is made of white sugar and water. The softer the fruit, the heavier the syrup required. Ordinarily about 70 degrees Balling's saccharometer is the proper weight for the syrup. The fruit is then placed in earthen pans, and covered with the syrup, where it is left to remain about a week.
The sugar enters the fruit and displaces what juice remained after the scalding process. The fruit now requires cue ! careful watching, as fermentation will soon take place; and when this has reached a certain stage, the fruit and syrup is heated to a boiling degree, which checks the fermentation. This heating process should be repeated as often as necessary for about six weeks. The fruit is then taken out of the syrup and washed in clean water, and is then ready to be either glazed or crystallized, as the operator may wish. If glazed, the fruit is dipped in thick sugar-syrup, and left to harden quickly in open air. If it is to be crystallized, dip in the same kind of syrup, but is made to cool and harden slowly, thus causing the sugar, which covers the fruit, to crystallize. The fruit is now ready for boxing and shipping. Fruit thus prepared will keep in any climate and stand transportation".
"Crystallized fruits make a very acceptable dish for dessert; they ornament the table and please the palate. They should be arranged with due regard to color, the darker hues, such as greengages,' being used for the base, and the brighter ones, such as apricots and oranges, for the upper part, the chinks and crevices being filled with cherries and raspberries".
For 1 1/2 lbs. fresh violet blossoms 2 1/2 lbs. sugar; dissolved over the fire with small cup water, and boiled. The violets are parboiled in water, drained out, then put into this syrup and boiled 10 minutes; then drained on a seive. Little more syrup made of 1 lb. loaf sugar with 1/4 cup water, violets put in, and stirred tijl syrup granulates; then taken up and dried. Rose-leaves same way.