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Violet syrup – Wild edibles recipe


IMG_9248 IMG_9251 IMG_9265 IMG_9268Violet syrup

Violets.  So much beauty in a little flower.  It is one of my favorite wild edibles and we are so lucky to live here where they are practically a pest.  I grew violets in Florida mostly for the greens and only got a few blooms in all the time I grew them.  The greens are a favorite salad green.  So mild and tasty and packed full of good stuff for our bodies but today (really this week) we will be giving some attention and praise to the bloom.

All winter long, I wait for spring.  The sun returns and so do the violets.  We love to forage as a family.  There is so much out there to find and use but many of the “weeds” you find in early spring will be gone in a flash.  Violets are one of them.  While the greens will stay most of the year, those precious blooms will only be around for a few weeks at most and then they return to the ground until next spring.

We are in the middle of all things violet this week.  Violet jelly, violet sugar, dried violets for our tea and violet syrup.  They may also grace the top of a cupcake or two but today I want to share how to make violet syrup.  We make it a bit thick and use it on pancakes and waffles, ice cream and to sweeten our tea.  It is not healthy but it is beautiful and we always need more beauty no?

Violet Syrup

1 cup violet blooms

4 cups water (boiled)

4 cups sugar (we use raw sugar,  if you want a more purple color you will need to use white sugar, otherwise the color will be closer to a blush wine like my pictures)

lemon juice


So to get started, we are basically going to make a big batch of violet tea.

Boil the water and pour over the violets.  Let them steep for about 30 minutes to over night.  You might be surprised that the water is either blue, greenish or dark and not the beautiful purple you were hoping for.  Do not lose heart.  The purple will happen later.

Strain and throw the blooms in the compost

Now measure out your water.  Add the same amount of sugar as water.  We use organic raw sugar which makes the syrup a more brownish color.  If you want bright purple, you will need white sugar but I am ok with giving up a little color to not use white sugar.

Next comes the magical part and my kids wait for this magic reaction.   Slowly add lemon until you get the purple you want.  As soon as you add the lemon, the tea will turn to purple.  Magic.

Now boil until it becomes as thick as you want it.  Be careful or you will get crystals or rock candy.  Do not boil it too long.  The best way to tell is when the syrup clings a bit to the spoon.

Pour into a sterilized jar and if you want it to keep for a while then process like you would jelly.

Enjoy anyway you like.

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of sap and syrup

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How to share with you the feeling of walking into the woods these mornings to discover so much goodness around us?  Walking from tree to tree and checking taps is so much fun.  Before moving here from Florida, our biggest experience in maple syrup and how it comes to be was largely from the Little House books and reenactment events.  The idea of tapping trees just out in our woods and coming out with a sweet sugar source is so exciting and mysterious.

Last year I decided not to tap our trees and just take the year to learn, observe and learn some more.  Back in the fall, on a very cool day, the kids and I headed out to our woods with bright neon pink plastic ribbon tape (the kind that is used to rope off areas of traffic I suppose) and identified the trees.  Then came the long wait through winter where every few days, John Paul or Chris would come to me and ask me how many more days till we tap.  It was very reminiscent of kids on a long trip in the back seat.  A few more weeks I would say and they were off to another activity until the thought and excitement would come back and the question would come up again.

I was lucky enough to find some old taps and buckets, which I love because I imagine how many years these taps were part of creating this magical syrup that we love so much.  Even with all the planning, I tapped a bit late according to most people but even late we have gotten quite a bit of maple sap to process.  Just like every other learning adventure, the words “next year will be even better” are commonly spoken and we are already planning next years maple season and I too am saying that next year will be even better.

Next year we will already know which trees were great and which may not be worth retapping.  We have decided that we love the metal taps better than the plastic taps and tubing and though I like the metal buckets, I LOVE the mason jars I rigged up with twine.  Indeed, next year will be better and this year we will enjoy the fruits of our labors.  Sweet labor.  That is my kind of reward and I will be posting the entire process once we are finally finished and have our syrup bottled up.

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