Violet syrup – Wild edibles recipe

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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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peeps and plants

Mateo and chick Mateo and chick Mateo and chick Mateo and chicks Mateo and baby chickIMG_0036IMG_0042IMG_0047IMG_0051IMG_0061IMG_0064

IMG_0113 IMG_0114 IMG_0122 IMG_0124 IMG_0126IMG_9924 IMG_9926 IMG_9930IMG_9237 IMG_9240All around me I see spring but when I step outside, the temperature says not quite yet.  Between temps dipping below 32 almost nightly and this fine cold rain that keeps coming for the past few days, I am feeling the pinch to get the garden in and all of our projects done on time.  Most of this happens in pockets of sunshine or at least no rain.

The potatoes are planted and baby greens seem happy out there but my tomatoes inside are looking a bit sad and leggy.  I have done some winter sown tomato and other seedlings outside so I know that they will come up when they are ready and I tell myself that when the time is right, the volunteer tomatoes will take over every inch that they find to grow outside and I will be going nuts trying to repot them all to use.  I ask myself why I feel the need to start tomatoes indoors knowing that this will happen but I guess its just something that I NEED to do?  I guess my reason is that I love tomatoes.  I love certain varieties and I am something of a control hog and need to feel like I am doing my part.

I have started 11 colors of nasturtiums this year and I can’t wait to see all their happy colors outside.  Perhaps planted around the chicken yard and tucked in anywhere that I can put them.  Their blooms and leaves will once again be part of our salads and this year I plan to finally get around to pickling their buds.  We will see.  I found an entire bag of these seed starter peat pellets in the hen house.  I am thinking they were a barter gift from someone last year and boy are they fiddly to work with but they are free and a good resource so we planted them full of nasturtiums.

We have ordered more chicks, because chicks.  We are adding more chicks to the hen house this year and waiting for the store to get the call from the post office that the baby ducks and last chicks have arrived…waiting.   When they are all here we should be at around 30 chickens and 6 ducks.  Buff Orpintons, Auracaunas, Ameracaunas, RIR’s, New Hampshire Reds, Isa Browns, Brahmas, Black Astralorps, Red and Black Sex Links and a gaggle of Indian Runner Ducks.

Mateo has become once again completely enamored with these little yellow fluff balls.  He tells me stories about them all the time.  This morning, he explained to me how they brush their teeth.  Last year, he was named “the chicken strangler” because we had to save quite a few baby chicks from his grasp.  We would even find chicks sticking their heads out of the windows of his vintage Fisher Price Little People airplane.  Poor chicks.  This year he has gotten the hang of it and anytime I don’t see him, he is usually down looking into the baby pool full of chicks.

So much going on around here and by late afternoon, I can count on him to fall asleep somewhere, usually his sheep skin.  People ask me what we do with all of our sheep skins after the babies don’t need them anymore.  My answer is we use them.  We all use them, all of the time.

I am hoping to get into the woods later today if the rain lets up.  The morels are coming up and I am hearing reports from friends nearby who have found some.  I hope to have the same luck and knowing that the window to find them is so short makes me excited and anxious for the weather to cooperate with me.  I am not so much into being wet and cold at the same time.

Love and spring wishes from me to you.

 

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