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?
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)
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.