I HATE mowing down flowers...lol, sometimes, I'll mow around a particularly cheerful bunch, even if it leaves an odd tuft sticking up in the middle of the lawn. I've said before that I would be perfectly happy letting the grass on the one side of my parents' house turn into a happy little meadow...it's just not really socially acceptable, since we're in the middle of town.
I had been dreading killing the thriving colony of violets that populates our yard every spring, but I knew that I HAD to mow soon. I spend a lot of time researching various off-grid lifestyle things these days, and that inspired me to see if there was anything interesting that one could do with violets. For example, I know that you can make violet jelly, but I was delighted to discover that there are actually all kinds of things you can do with the blossoms and leaves!
In fact, apparently only two violet leaves can fulfill your daily vitamin C requirement! Violet leaves and blossoms have many health benefits, and can be used in teas, balms and salves, as a poultice, and even simply in your salad!
I chose to try turning the blossoms I collected into Violet Syrup.
The recipe is pretty simple, though there seem to be a lot of variations. Here's the basic idea:
1. Collect violet blossoms and rinse
2. Pour boiling water over blossoms, just enough to cover them
3. Let sit for several hours or overnight
4. Strain out the blossoms, saving the violet-infused water (squeeze the blossoms to get as much water out as possible)
5. Measure the violet water, put it into a saucepan, and add twice its volume in sugar (ie., if you have 1 cup of violet water, add 2 cups of sugar)
6. Stir over a low temperature, avoiding boiling, until the sugar is dissolved
7. If desired, add a few drops of lemon juice, which will intensify the purple color
8. Pour into a jar, let cool, and store in the fridge...it should keep for several months
My blossoms ended up soaking for an extra whole day because I ran out of time on Wednesday. The violet water smelled quite floral when I strained the blossoms out! And despite the fact that many of my blossoms were white instead of purple, the liquid was still quite a lovely shade:
Here's what it looked like in the saucepan:
And then, a few minutes later...ta-da!!!
It is rather exotic-looking, isn't it? :D
It's VERY sweet, and tastes like honey with a hint of something floral in there. I think it would be a nice addition to a plain tea, or possibly drizzled in small amounts over vanilla ice cream. I'm honestly not sure what else to do with it though, lol. :P It was a fun experience, though, and I'm glad that I found a use for the violets before I mowed. If anyone local wants to stop by and try a taste, let me know!
(By the way, I did try eating a violet leaf. It was decidedly leafy...)