Today has been the first day pretty much all year where we’ve done a little foraging, and I think that in itself is a reason to type up my first post in quite a while. I’ve been spending the last couple of months frantically studying for my degree (yes, I’m still doing that, despite starting years ago and now being aged 32), but the surprisingly good weather this weekend meant we just couldn’t stay in.
Foraging is limited at the moment, so the trip out really wasn’t about that; it was a simple walk in the countryside (along a beautiful local riverbank) with Mia, Gosia and Angel. I was walking along remarking how all the trees are in bud (and geekily identifying the ones which will have edible produce later in the year) when Gosia spotted Violets and started talking about how fragrant they were, and did I know they can be used in cooking, etc….Well yes I do know, but that still didn’t stop her from climbing down the bank to fill up a carrier bag with them.
We then walked back under the pure blue skies and sunshine and I swear you couldn’t tell much difference between this and a normal summer’s day. Conversation fell to the chores awaiting when we got home; planting the gooseberries that arrived on Friday, tying strings for the raspberries, and so on. There’s so much going on in the garden I can see that being a big theme for the blog this year!
5 Culinary Uses For Violets
- Violets are so fragrant and it’s a shame to waste this. For a simple Violet Syrup steep a handful of the flowers in boiling water for about 12 hours. The strained water is then added to double the volume of sugar, and heated gently until the sugar dissolves. Finally up the temp to a boil for 5 minutes before emptying into a sterilised bottle.
- Candied Violets. These are delicious and were apparently a popular sweet / candy in the 19th century. There’s a great recipe for candied violets here.
- Violet Tea. Simply infuse a handful of the violets (you can include the leaves) in hot water and sweeten with a little honey. This tastes better than you imagine it will!
- Violet Salad. You can use both the leaves and the flowers in salads; I’d recommend mixing with other ingredients or serving a small portion alongside a main course as a fragrant spring garnish.
- Violet Jelly. This is a jelly in the sense of a clear jam, rather than the wobbly dessert, and is made in the traditional way of steeping the flowers to obtain the “essence”, then adding sugar and boiling to setting point. There’s a great Violet Jelly Recipe here.
- Yes, I said 5 but you’re getting one extra for free: Violet Soup. This one I haven’t tried or even thought of, but did find on Google. So head over to this Violet Soup Recipe and give it a try!