Violets are one of the first things to pop out of the ground in spring, along with tulips and daffodils of course, but the great things about violets are that they are edible. Both the flowers and the leaves can be eaten, and are a great addition to salads, cocktails and to decorate cakes, I mean look how pretty they are!
These little babies have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. Its recorded to have been used as far back as Ancient Greece to prevent headaches and dizziness. I found out that violets actually contain salicylic acid, which the natural “raw” material for aspirin. So it stands up to scientific analysis against these claims.
I had always known that these pretty little flowers were edible but other than salads, and maybe a decorations for sweets, I had no idea what to actually do with them. I mean tossing the leaves and flowers in a salad is easy enough but can get boring pretty fast and honestly I don’t bake all that often. This year however I put in a little effort (thank you internet) and came up with this delightful syrup recipe.
The sweet syrup is a great thing to have around because it can liven up a cup of tea, a simple cupcake recipe or even a cocktail. Because its a simple syrup it can be used to sweeten just about anything (use it like maple syrup or honey), so long as you don’t mind the floral touch or bright purple color it adds.
To test it out I made a pretty pink cocktail mixing rum, lemon juice and the syrup. We don’t follow exact cocktail recipes in this house, but it came out pretty darn good anyway. I also tried it in my chamomile & mint tea when I had a headache last night and it was a really lovely addition.
Using it as a cocktail got me to thinking about turning it into a wine next. I think a pretty purple wine would be awesome, so that might be on next year’s list of projects.
- 2 cup water
- 4 cups violets, loosely packed
- 4 cups granulated sugar, white
- Place the violets in a sterile jar large enough to fit the blossoms.
- Bring the water up to a boil in a small sauce pan.
- Pour the hot water over the violets and seal the jar. Let it stand for 24 hours.
- Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve, gently pressing any additional liquid from the violets.
- For every cup of liquid yielded, add 2 cups of sugar. Stir together over medium low heat until the sugar dissolves. DO NOT BOIL as you will lose the color of the infusion.
- Note: If the mixture does boil or the color becomes a dark brown or black add a drop or two of lemon juice to turn the infusion a more pink color.
- Store the syrup in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to a year.