Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Violet Jelly

Last summer I found a recipe for violet jelly. It was pretty simple: violet blossoms, water, lemon juice, sugar (lots of it!), and pectin. It sounded great; all I needed was some violets. Fortunately for me, I quit paying for a lawn service and hadn't had my lawn sprayed with chemicals for a few years. Unfortunately for me, the 'violet sanctuary' that had become a large part of my yard was not largely in bloom in July. So I tucked my recipe away and patiently waited......Until NOW!!! Oh, the violets in my yard are so beautiful, aren't they?!? The photo shows only a small part of my lawn on which the violets are taking over. I'd considered adding a nice, wood frame around them to make it look like an intentional flower bed.

Anyway, violets are edible! (both flowers and leaves, in fact). How about THAT for "Grow It Eat It"! I didn't even have to try on that one! In my yard are actually two different kinds of violets - purple ones and a white/purple variegated variety. As such, I decided to make two batches of the jelly. So, out in the rain I went last Saturday, and picked two cups each:

Again, aren't they beautiful? I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to do an internet search on "violet jelly" to find your own recipes (there are several), but the general idea is that you pour boiling water over the (rinsed) blossoms and let them steep for a time. At this point you can actually drink the strained infusion for a refreshing herbal tea (particularly if you have a sore throat), and it's this liquid that makes the base for the jelly. Follow your standard canning practices, or don't bother canning and just enjoy the jelly within a few weeks of making it. Check out my results:
The jelly on the left is from the purple violets; jars on the right are from the variegated ones. Interesting color difference, don't you think? You might be wondering what violet jelly tastes like. I would say it actually tastes a little like grape jelly. It's wonderful!

When life give you violets, don't spray them to death - make violet jelly! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go back outside and pick dandelion leaves for my salad.

3 comments:

  1. I don't have the patience for the jelly right now, but I headed out to pick some violets for tea. Interesting color, pleasant taste, and it does help a bit with the throat. Thank you!

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  2. I would like to know what recipe you used because mine was a failure. I picked one cup of violets and put them in a blender with 3/4 cup water and juice of one lemon. It said blend to a paste but there was nothing pasty about it. The recipe then called for 2 1/2 cups of sugar. I hoped it would become pasty but it did not. Then the package of powdered pectin which made the whole mixture quite cloudy. It also tasted very tart. I think using a blender may have ruined it or the vagueness of "one package of pectin". What do you think went wrong. Yours look beautiful and clear.

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  3. I used a recipe I found on Henriette's Herbal - a reputable online source for all things herbal: http://www.henriettesherbal.com/faqs/culi-4-6-jelly.html

    Scroll halfway down the page to find the 'Violet Flower Jelly' recipe.

    None of the recipes I found suggested actually keeping the blossoms in the mixture, they all use the flowers to make a tea infusion, and then just use the strained liquid. Note that this recipe also calls for 'a pack of pectin'. I bought a jar of Ball pectin, on the side of which indicated that their old 'package' contained 6 Tbsp. So I used 6 Tbsp in the recipe. I think I could have used just a little less, but things turned out just fine.

    Good luck!

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