Violet Question

sos_acres(Z5 SE IA)April 19, 2005

Is the entire violet flower edible? The petals are so tiny and tedious to remove... and stick to your fingers really bad if you've wash them first! I have located two recipes (below)for making violet jelly and am hoping it was okay to leave the sepal -green part holding the petal together- on. As far as I can tell it is okay... but since it's our first time eating a violet, I'd like reassurance from someome who knows for sure! Thanks in advance.

SOS

Violet Jelly

Note: the differences, altho minor, between the two recipes will appear in blue

2 Heaping cups of fresh violet petals (2 cups fresh violets)

2 cups boiling water

¼ cup well strained. clear lemon juice [juice of one lemon(4 tablespoons)]

4 cups sugar

3 ounces liquid pectin (1 package of powdered pectin)

Wash petals well, drain, and place in heat proof bowl. Pour boiling water over petals; steep 30 minutes to 24 hours.( Steep 24 hours. The infusion will turn a murky bluish green) Strain, reserving liquid; discard violets. (Can be refrigerated up to 24 hours).

Keep jars hot until ready to use. To make jelly, stir lemon juice and sugar into the violet juice in a 2 quart steel pan. Bring to a roiling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add pectin, boil 2 minutes.(Add lemon juice to violet infusion, and it transforms to a clear lavendar pink. Stir in powered pectin, and bring to a boil. Add 4 cups sugar, bring to a boil again, and boil vigoriously for one minute) Skim any foam.

Ladle aquickly into hot jars within 1/8 inch of the top. Clean rims. Screw tops on tightly and place in water bath canner for 10 minutes following USDA standards.

Makes 4 to 5 half pint jars.

Note: can substitute lavendar, honeysuckle, or rose petals. Use fully opened flowers.

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fairy_toadmother

i have always wanted to try the recipe and never had the time. i even froze the petals. time to throw them away (2 yrs old). i think the green part may be bitter.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 9:10PM
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sos_acres(Z5 SE IA)

Went ahead and made the jelly. It was fun, especially when the color turned a shocking bright pink as the lemon juice was added. The flavor was dissappointingly mild, mostly tasting the lemon juice. Evidentally the sepals are safe to eat....as I still feel fine after having some of it on a piece of warm homemade bread...yummy :)
SOS

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 12:13AM
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belle_michele(zone4Minnesota)

What you really need to get a more 'flavorable' violet jelly or syrup is Viola Odorata (sweet violet). This might be kind of 'iffy' in your zone but worth a try. I wish I could grow them here-no matter how well mulched, etc., I can't get them to overwinter outside.
Another option would be to look for 'fragrant' Viola's and Pansies.....(they are very edible). I've made a jelly from both 'fragrant' Pansies and rose petals and it's very delicate and 'exotic'...People either really love it or think it's weird (I love it). I would decrease the amount of lemon juice in your recipe by at least half-or it will overwhelm the delicate 'flower' taste/essence.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 2:19PM
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fairy_toadmother

is sweet violet and common violet the same type? they grow like weeds around here, once in your yard nothing is safe!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 8:29PM
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belle_michele(zone4Minnesota)

I think the voilet you find in your yard is commonly referred to as a 'dog violet' or wild violet and is not the 'sweet violet' (though I still think they are beautiful and love them). My understanding is the sweet violet is only hardy in zone 6 and above--might be able to stretch a zone with mulching and placement to zone 5.
You can get the seeds in catalogues or online--and sometimes even find the plants in local nurseries or herb farms.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 10:08PM
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sos_acres(Z5 SE IA)

Thanks for the advice Belle Michele. These violets were the common type. Will have to look for the sweet violet seeds. They might survive our winter mulched on the south side of the house.
I think you are right about the lemon juice. I also might have made a mistake using the bottled stuff. Squeezing a real lemon might have been milder. Oh well, experimenting will be worth it because this jelly is so pretty!
SOS

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 11:47PM
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Cathie(5 Ohio)

We use the plain old wild violets and have always had very flavorful jam. Of course it's jam not jelly and has the whole flower in it.Such a delicious wild flavor. We use the whole blossom, not just the petals Here is a recipe.

1 cup violet blossoms tightly packed
1 1/2 C water
juice of 1 lemon
2 1/2 C sugar
1 pkg of powdered pectin

Put blossoms, 3/4 C water and lemon juice in a blender amd blend until you have a smooth violet colored paste. Slowly add sugar and blend until dissloved.
Mix pectin and 3/4 C water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil hard 1 minute. Pour hot pectin mix into blender with the violet mix and blend for about a minute. Pour quickly into jars and seal. Store in the freezer. I have not tried to preserve it by canning. Don't know if it will work.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 11:24AM
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breezyb(z6/7VA)

Although I've never tasted them, I've read that the leaves of the common wild violet are edible & can be tossed in salads.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 1:16PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The HARVEST forum had a similar question posted and at that forum there was also a recipe to make candied petals.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 3:43PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Sweet violets (V. odorata) can "go wild", too. If the blossoms have a strong fragrance, they are probably sweet violets. I'm not sure they're all that tender, since many varieties are named after Russian royalty (some of these are large-flowered and not particularly fragrant). One especially fragrant, short pink variety is "Rosina". Plant known varieties to get the fragrance or color you want. They spread. A few varieties are known for better heat tolerance than others. Some may be hardier than others.

Parma violets may be even more fragrant than common sweet violets, and may be what some people are referring to when they speak of sweet violets being tender. They are not very cold-hardy and are often double and short-stemmed. I tried them in Southern California and found them harder to grow than 'Rosina'. They may require more attention than regular sweet violets. To try these in colder zones, you could try planting on the east side of the house and mulching in winter. In hot-summer areas, a locations which gets sun in winter and spring but partial shade in summer is ideal for many violets.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 2:00AM
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belle_michele(zone4Minnesota)

I would think Parma violets would give the most intensely flavored Jelly...I don't know much about them though-could they be planted as an 'annual' just for the blooms or does it take a year before they flower?

Another way to 'intensify' the flavor is make 'violet' sugar and use that for the sugar when making the jam/jelly/syrup/hard candy. To make violet (or any edible flower petals or scented leaved geranium leaves) sugar, have a layer of sugar, then a layer of blossoms, then a layer of sugar, etc. Leave it for at least a week, then remove the blossoms, I found that putting the blossoms in between two unused coffee filters makes it easier to remove the blossoms.

Sweet Violets (V. odorata) are, to the best of my knowledge, 'hardy' in zones 6 and above...so for someone like me, they are definitely not 'cold hardy'.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 2:05PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

There is a lot of conflicting information on sweet violet hardiness out there, but apparently some people have grown them in Zone 4 (see link below). Many sources list hardiness as being Zones 6-9, however.

I would not try to grow Parma violets as an annual. I did not find them to be particularly vigorous, even in Southern California. You might get a few blooms in the spring from plants you ordered, but not enough to be worthwhile.

Nice idea for scented sugar. Should be quite easy with scented geraniums. My mother once got a tiny vial of geranium oil, rose-scented, I believe, (very expensive) at the drug store, to use in those gelled apple and nut candies. The recipe called for dipping a toothpick in the oil and swirling it through the cooking candy. Even then, it was easy to overdo it. Using scented sugar would be a good way to control the amount of fragrance.

Here is a link that might be useful: sweet violet hardiness

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 3:16PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

I've had candied violets, common yard type, not sure of exact species. I think the sepals, etc., just don't have as good a flavor as the petals, kinda green tasting. Put enought sugar or lemon juice with something and it will taste OK.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 5:17PM
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belle_michele(zone4Minnesota)

I may look into Queen Charlotte...thanks for the link!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 11:37AM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Hope it works out for you. Imagine, a whole forum just on violets.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 8:53PM
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pattyw123

I've made this jelly and the color is beautiful.
I found it to have little flavor and I am waiting for my order from "Spice Barn"
They have a violet flavor extract I'm going to try this year.
It is a conversation starter for sure!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 4:25PM
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careytearose(z9 NoCal)

OH, goodie goodie... I just found another garden forum (we have lots of edible plants and flowers in our yards) to peruse through and what is the first post that catches my eye but one about violets!! Delighted to see this thread. I was told only the violet odorata was the edible one. At our family's local "haunt"- Lisa's Tea Treasures (we're serious tea partiers here, no Starbucks for us!), they have sugared violet petals to put in one's tea. They taste yummy outside the cup, but they do make the tea a strange and murky color! I've had a recipe (or receipt as Tasha Tudor would say) for this in an old Victoria mz issue and have always wanted to try it. Just bought a violet odorata (a white and purple streaked one) for a shady spot in our children's Secret Garden. I'll be getting more and planting them around the bases of three evergreen pears there. To see some pics of our gardens, including the chidren's Secret Garden we're creating, do check out my Picture Trail:

careytearose

Here is a link that might be useful: look at the Landscaping Projects 2007 and Favorite ROSES we grow albums

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 4:06PM
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gladgrowing(6a)

We have made candied violets, as a decor for other deserts, and i have enjoyed a friend's Violet Jelly that was made with Apple Juice - it had more flavor that way.
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 11:10AM
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