Friday, May 8, 2009

Gather Ye Violets While Ye May


Technorati Tags: violets,flower cookery,The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery

April 2009 540

In a galaxy far, far away and another life ago, I was president of a garden club. One of the speakers we had was a woman named Leona Woodring Smith, who wrote “The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery.” I was intrigued then, and still am, by the use of flowers in recipes. I made violet jelly decades ago when my children were still young. I don’t think there were too many others in the lunchroom with peanut butter and violet jelly sandwiches back then. I haven’t thought about cooking with violets for eons, but this year they are cropping up all over our lawn. If given lemons, make lemonade, the saying goes. So following that logic, I made violet jelly.

I followed the recipe in the book, except I added a box of Certo sure-jell instead of 1/2 bottle called for in the recipe. Maybe that made the difference this time, because it hasn’t set up quite the way my violet jelly did years ago. Still, it’s pretty, and I can think of lots of ways to use it, including a beautiful and delicious one I hope to post immediately after this one that would be perfect for Mother’s Day.

Wild Violets - otherwise known as weeds to many, but to me they’re a food source.

April 2009 610

Violet Jelly

April 2009 618

So get picking. Forage your neighbor’s yard or nearby meadows, if need be. But I wouldn’t harvest any if weed killers have been used. Right now is perfect since we haven’t added any pesticides to our lawn. But the window of opportunity is short, so go – now – before it starts raining again.

Violet Jelly

1 1/2 cups violet water (see below)

1 T. lemon juice

3 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 bottle fruit pectin (Certo)

Combine the violet water, lemon juice and sugar in a large pan. (You may double violet water to use in making jelly. Pour your first batch of violet water over fresh blossoms and repeat the process.) Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the fruit pectin and boil hard for one full minute, stirring constantly.

To make violet water: Place about two cups of violets into a glass jar or measuring cup. Add boiling water (I used about 1 1/2 cups of distilled water which gets you the best results.) Strain and use the liquid for the jelly recipe, or to color drinks, make icings, sauces, etc. If you prefer stronger flavor or coloring, reheat the liquid and pour over a fresh batch of flowers.

Violet WaterApril 2009 580

A special thanks to Susan of Sticky,Gooey,Chewy,Creamy for giving me a tip on how to enlarge photos.


  1. Ciao Chow,
    I love the new big photos and the clean look of the new blog!
    Beautiful violets!
    Enjoy your weekend

  2. The larger photos are great, they let us appreciate your beautiful images. This jelly is the most delicate thing, thanks for sharing it!

  3. I have seen these little flowers - now I will start picking them - thanks for the tip....

  4. This is gorgeous, Linda! Look at that color! So beautiful and perfect for Mother's Day.

  5. OOOOH, I love your new look, and all your photos look great! Beautiful colors Linda.

  6. I'm intrigued. What would it taste like ?
    I'll have to go see how to enlarge photos too. Looks gorgeous!

  7. Can't find it on her blog - could you tell me???

  8. Love it. Beautiful.
    I use violet water in my hair. Now I'm thinking that might me weird??
    Love the photos.

  9. I love your new blog appearnace Linda. I was thinking of chaniging mine also but I'd miss my blue background color that I've coem to love. Your larger photos really make your recipes "pop" --just perfect!

    The violet falvor sounds so wonderful! I rememebr loving Violet candy when I was a child. I haven't seen that in ages.

  10. Omg how lucky and skillful you are I so wish I could taste it!!

  11. Just gorgeous! I followed the link to your site from doggybloggy and was met with this visual delight. I'm going to look for violet water (I'm not quite the forager that db is!)