Most of my herbie friends are about 2 weeks ahead of me on their foraging projects, and have already shared their violet projects. My friend, Maggie, was featured on the cover of Radish Magazine with her violet jelly recipe.
After an unusually long, cool spring, and Indiana’s wettest spring on record in a 100 years, my violets finally hit full bloom in the past week. Fearful of more crazy weather, I was out gathering violets at first opportunity.
In case you’re wondering what on earth you would do with violet syrup, here are a few suggestions: Serve with crepes or pancakes, add it to champagne or a white wine spritzer, drizzle it over vanilla ice cream, pour over shaved ice for a cool summer treat, or use it as a cocktail mixer for a violet martini or violet gin fizz.
Making violet syrup is as simple as brewing a cup of tea, and making simple syrup.
Fill a jar with violets flowers. Pour boiling water over violets and allow to cool. Strain liquid from flowers. Don’t be alarmed at the color of the water. It will range anywhere from blue to green, but will be adjusted to purple later. Here is what mine looked like in the first 30 seconds of steeping. The picture doesn’t do the color justice. Even fiddling with my camera settings, I was not able to capture the deep rich quality of the color. You’ll probably see what I mean if you try making your own syrup. Further steeping darkens the color.
At a 1:1 ratio, place violet liquid and sugar in a large pan. I used a quart jar and ended up with 3 cups of violet water, so I used 3 cups of sugar.
Add lemon juice to the mixture until the desired color of violet is achieved. It doesn’t take much, and too much will result in magenta or pink syrup. It took a little over a teaspoon of lemon juice to bring my syrup to a deep jewel toned violet color.
Bring syrup mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 1 to 2 minutes. If the color fades a little during cooking, you can add a few more drops of lemon juice to readjust the color before bottling. Cool and store in the refrigerator. This syrup can become moldy if stored for long periods of time in the refrigerator. I plan to try freezing some this year to see if I can extend violets into the winter months.