As many of you already know, I am an avid gardener and often share updates about the changes to my vegetable plot through the seasons. There’s nothing more exciting than getting a fresh harvest after putting in weeks or months of effort in growing something from the ground up. Well, maybe there is one thing better…
There are a few harvests we have each year which take little to no effort at all.
I’m talking about the dandelions, red deadnettle, buttercups, and wild violets. Those who prefer their lawns to be a consistent shade of green may even consider some of these harvests to be weeds, but they prove to be useful in this household! Here’s a little something I like to whip up when we’ve got fresh violet blooms.
Today we’re making wild violet syrup which can be used as a simple syrup in baking, a natural sweetener, or even in Wild Violet Lemonade like in my recipe here!
There are only a few ingredients, all of which you probably have around the house… or lawn.
- Wild violet petals
Fresh petals work best and are easily picked in the morning before it gets too warm out.
Make as much as you want! Use a 1:1 ratio of fresh petals to water, and 2:1 of water to sugar. For example, I harvested about 6 cups of petals, so this batch filled a half-pint jelly jar and regular-mouth quart worth of syrup.
- First, gather your wild violets from an area free from pesticides, herbicides, or animal excrement. If you have any doubt that these may have contaminated your harvest, I would not proceed with using them for anything edible.
- Measure the petals ahead of time as they will compress once wet and this changes the ratio in step 4. Simply pour the petals into your measuring cup and do not push down until all the petals are in the container. You do not want to push very hard, just lightly compress them so that there are no large air pockets.
- Rinse the petals once or twice to lessen the likelihood that any bugs, dirt, or dust will make their way into your recipe. Most strainers have holes large enough for the petals to fall through once wet, so it is best to use a sieve.
- Using a 1:1 ratio of dry petals to water, add both to a mason jar to steep for 6-8 hours. This step is not necessary if you are in a time crunch, but I’ve found that it helps to capture the subtle floral taste while building a deeper color.
- Once the petals have steeped, we’re ready to add them to a pot to boil. There is no need to strain the petals out before boiling as we want the petals to continue steeping as the water warms. Stir occasionally until boiling, then reduce heat. You don’t want a rolling boil per se, but you do want to bring it up to temp so as to make a tea with the petals.
- After simmering for about a minute, turn off the heat and let it sit, only stirring occasionally as it cools.
- Once cool enough to handle, use a sieve to strain the last of the petals and press them with the back of a spoon to get all the moisture out. Pour the violet ‘tea’ into the pot again and add 1/2 cup sugar per cup of water from the original ratio.
- Stir on medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely and then reduce heat to let it cool.
- When pouring into your mason jars for storage, leave a bit of room at the top and seal before it cools completely. This recipe keeps in the fridge for several months without the extra boiling method of properly canning something.