The beautiful wild violets are popping up with enthusiasm around here. Shy and diminutive, they really merit inspection and – better yet – collection and use. Aside from their delicate beauty, they (flowers and leaves) are very nutritious and high in vitamins A and C. I was particularly interested in making beverages with them, in the hopes of extracting some of that lovely purple hue.
My first attempt to use them was to add the blooms, whole, to water kefir for a second ferment. The result was not what I had hoped: there was no noticeable change to the color and very little added flavor in the finished product. The violets clearly had not infused the liquid.
“If at first you don’t succeed…” After some additional research, it became clear that heat would better facilitate extraction of the color and flavor. Seeing easily-accessible violets nearby, I decided to try making syrup. The process started with steeping the freshly-picked blooms in hot water to create tea. The tea steeps for around 24 hours, then the violets are strained out (pressing the violets to extract as much liquid as possible). The tea is then gently warmed and sugar is dissolved into it. Bottle and keep refrigerated.
I picked about 2 cups of violets and ended up with 3 cups of liquid; 2 cups of liquid (or 3 cups of flowers) would likely have resulted in a deeper purple finished syrup, but I’m still pleased with the finished syrup’s lavender hue. Violets have a very mild flavor, so this syrup is suitable for use in applications where a prominent added flavor may not be needed or desired…I envision cocktails using the violet syrup in the future!
Using the bounty of the land that’s provided to us just seems like the logical approach. Look for more posts on other foraged and wildcrafted edibles – as summer approaches, the availability of these gifts increases exponentially!