After moving to the new homestead, we made an agreement to hold off on a veggie garden for a year while we build our barn. This has been challenging for the inner gardener in me as Spring arrives and I get my itch to plant. Instead, I have turned to the garden beds that were already built in place to begin work on a perennial garden - something I have always desired, and has proven to be very soul-lifting.
I still yearn to harvest, regardless of our decision to put veggies on hold. So, with all these wooded acres we gained, I have turned to foraging as the next best thing (and it's pretty great).
Foraging is exciting because you really get to know your land - this is especially important to us as new homeowners but also as caretakers practicing both plant and animal husbandry. It's thrilling to find that our land is fairly prolific and rich in its natural resources. A good sign for building a life here.
Violets appear in the Spring usually from May to June in our northern zone. They are perennials and spread quickly. Often recognized as a purple flower, they can come in many varieties if colors.
This recipe is normally done with purple ones, as they produce a lovely light lavender colored result, but we have Canadian White Violets here, so it may have a different hue.
NOTE: Not all violets are edible, and you should always pick from a place you know hasn't been treated with chemicals or pesticides.
To learn more about the various violet varieties check out this site:
2 cups picked violet heads (de-stem)
Lemon juice (optional)
1/4 cup of honey
Tip: 2 cups is approximately what fits in your everyday mason jar. The more flowers you add, the stronger your flavor and likely color result. However, the other part of this process is conservation...
While I was picking, I saw various bees pollinating these little gems. Which, in turn helps the life of all our flowers and fruits so to me, it was important to keep a good amount in the ground for both visual enjoyment and their benefit. I only picked what I needed, and chose the flower heads carefully, attempting to only take those that were fully bloomed. Enjoying seasonal treats is important to me, but best if it can be done year after year.
[Pictured here with other treasures discovered in our woods this week by a local history buff & treasure hunter!]
Pick your violets, and ensure all stems are removed.
Rinse thoroughly to remove dirt and possible bugs (this is nature).
Place in a mason jar or heat-tolerant container & fill with boiling water.
Let the flowers steep, like a tea for up to 24 hours.
Strain the liquid to remove the flower heads (be sure to have a vessel ready to capture your floral tea)
Mix in 1/4 cup honey to the floral tea (even better if it's local!) for sweetness.
Optional: add the juice of 1 lemon for added flavor - *the citric acid in the lemon juice may deepen or change the color slightly.
This syrup is perfect for Spring and can be added to seltzer waters, cocktails, over vanilla ice cream - the choice is yours.
These flowers can also be eaten raw on a salad or desserts for example, and have medicinal benefits including clearing colds, and helping with clearing the body of toxins. They are also able to be transplanted into garden beds!
Cocktail recipe coming soon!