Spring offers the world many beautiful things: the return of song birds, flowering trees and yummy, fresh veggies. The spring offers us sunny days, warm weather and cool spring showers. Spring also brings forth the beautiful and bountiful Sweet Violet flower. Sweet Violets are a natural wildflower that grow profusely in meadows and green pastures. Sweet Violets can be used in herbal remedies, be made into yummy candy or turned into delectable syrup. Today I am going to share with you the amazingly hippie activity of turning Sweet Violets into an enchanting violet colored syrup that you can use to glaze cookies, sweeten tea, turn into spring spritzers or top off your ice cream (among other things)!
Step One: Grab a Mason jar and find a field of wild Sweet Violets: it could be your own backyard or a public park (just make sure the grass you are picking from has not been treated with any kind of fertilizer or pesticide) and get picking. You will only need the petals of the flower, you do not want any greenery in your stash or it will give the syrup an overly “earthy” flavor that will mask the delicate floral tones you are trying to extract. Also, Sweet Violets come in over 99 different color varieties so when you are picking make sure to separate them by color because different colored Violets will make different color syrup and you want to capture their natural, beautiful hue! Loosely fill your jar to the 2-cup measurement line, you can stop at one jar or fill as many jars as you can, it’s up to you.
Step Two: Once you have picked until your hearts content submerge your Violets in a bowl of cold water to rinse off any dirt or bugs that may have tagged along. Take the flowers out of the water and put them back into you Mason jar. You may notice your two cups of flowers are now compacted to one cup, that’s perfect. Next, boil two cups of water and pour them over the flowers. This is where the magic happens: the boiling water will draw out the natural color of the Violets and infuse the water with a beautiful range of blues and purples (depending on the color of the original Violet). I made this recipe with deep purple Violets which turned the water royal blue and light purple Violets which turned the water a lavender color. Cover the jar tightly with a lid and let steep for 24 hours. You will then strain out the flowers by pouring the liquid through a coffee filter or a cheese cloth, what you will be left with is what is called Flower Essence, or Violet infused water.
Step Three: Now it’s time to make the syrup! For this part you will need a pot, granulated white sugar and a beautiful bottle to display your gorgeous syrup. For every cup of infused water you will need 2 ¼ cups of sugar. Measure out your infused water and pour it into your pot, add your sugar (for example, if you have two cups of liquid, add 4 ½ cups of sugar). Over medium heat bring your mixture to a boil, stir until the sugar dissolves. As the liquid and sugar heat a bit of “skin” may form on top, skim it off each time it forms. Bring your mixture to a light boil then remove from heat (you do not want the mixture to come to a rolling boil otherwise it will harden). Let the mixture cool for about five minutes and pour your yummy syrup into a sterile glass container and store in the refrigerator! As I mentioned above, you can use this syrup in the same ways you would use maple syrup: cooking, baking and poured over pancakes or ice cream. But my favorite way to use this amazingly refreshing and beautiful syrup is to put about a teaspoon into a glass filled with ice and top it with mineral water.
Violets are full of vitamin C and Violet syrup has been a natural remedy for mild coughs and sore throats for hundreds of years! If you want to use Violet syrup medicinally you can take one teaspoon as needed or dissolve some into a mug of hot water and enjoy its soothing effects! Remember, just like maple syrup, Violet syrup contains a lot of sugar so a little bit goes a long way! Enjoy!