violet Jelly, Candy and Syrup

cannondMarch 25, 2013

Violet season will soon be upon us.

I need recipes for violet syrup, violet jelly and violet candy. My great-grandmother made all three, but, alas, the recipes have been lost.

The violet candy was hard, like brittle, and I think she made it with her violet syrup.

Have any of you recipes for these? Please help if you do.

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Somewhere I have a recipe for violet jelly that I made a couple of years ago and everyone who got a jar loved it. I will try to find it and post it for you.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:53PM
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I've tinkered with the violet jelly recipe that is posted all over the Net, so I can share my experiences. Sorry I don't have anything for syrup or candy, though.

The recipe I started with is:

Violet Jelly

2 heaping cups of fresh violet petals
2 cups boiling wter
1/4 cup well-strained, clear lemon juice
4 cups sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)

NOTE: Look for fully opened flowers, not partially opened buds, for
better color and more intense flavor. The violets you want are the wild violets. Please choose violets that have NOT been sprayed. )

Wash petals well, drain and place in heat-proof glass or nonreactive bowl. Pour boiling water over petals and let steep from 30 minutes to 24 hours. It usually takes about two hours for violets. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the clear, purplish liquid or infusion. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Place jars and lids on rack in pan or stockpot deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, keeping the jars hot until ready to fill.

To make the jelly, stir lemon juice and sugar into reserved infusion in a two-quart nonreactive or stainless steel pan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil two minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface.

Ladle quickly into jars to within about 1/8 inch from the top; clean each rim and threads of the jar as it's filled, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Place the jars in a hot-water canning bath and boil for 10 minutes (or the appropriate time for your area). After canning, carefully check to make sure the lids have all sealed. Sealed jars will last up to one year in a cool, dark place. Put any unsealed jelly in the refrigerator. it should keep about three weeks. Makes four or five half-pint jars.

Things I tried:

Steeping overnight (worked best).
Blenderizing the violets to get more flavor (didn't work - too hard to strain out all the little bits of flower petals).
Decreasing the sugar - 4 cups was too sweet. I did get a good set from 3 cups and it was still plenty sweet enough for me.
Using Pomona pectin (it was cloudy and for the first time, I noticed a chalky texture. I did use honey in that batch instead of sugar, which probably accounted for the cloudiness and perhaps the weird texture. Plus the honey overpowered the flavor of the violets).
BWB for 5 minutes instead of 10. That worked great - using sterilized jars.

Fresh lemon juice tasted better than bottled. I also threw in a bag of seeds that I had saved, so the set was a bit firmer but still soft, which I didn't mind.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 4:13PM
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BCSKY, it will be appreciated if you find it. Malna, thanks for the contribution. I will try your recommendations. I don't need a terribly firm set.

I despair of ever finding that hard candy recipe. Why oh why was it thrown away? I expect at the time, my relatives thought it too old fashioned.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 9:52PM
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While I was searching for some other stuff, I happened to stumble across these:

Violet Syrup
Sweet Violet Syrup from Linda Z
and one from Old Fashioned Living.

For the candy, I wonder if you could start with a recipe like a Horehound Candy Recipe from 1921 and adapt it to violets? I don't make candy, so I have no idea :-)

I did come across Violet Flavoring - might be interesting to intensify the flavor a bit?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 6:22PM
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I would love to make violet jelly or syrup or candy. My wild violets are blooming all over my homestead. Unfortunately, they are "all over" instead of all in one place. Picking a few cups full is a tedious process and I have to search them out, a small patch at a time! Last time I tried, I gave up before I had enough. it was early in the season, and there were fewer of them, but I'll give it another go! The violet candy sounds interesting, too.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Malna, I didn't know Linda Z had a violet syrup recipe. Thanks! It's the one I'll use since nearly all her recipes work for me.

As to the horehound candy, do you think I should start with violet syrup, perhaps eliminating the corn syrup? What would you do?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 4:01PM
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Here's what corn syrup does in candy making according to the Science of Cooking:

Why do I add corn syrup?
Corn syrup acts as an "interfering agent" in this and many other candy recipes. It contains long chains of glucose molecules that tend to keep the sucrose molecules in the syrup from crystallizing. Lots of sucrose crystals would result in grainy, opaque candy instead of the clear, glassy candy you're trying to create.

So, after reading that, I wouldn't leave it out.

The reason I thought of something like a horehound candy recipe is it starts with an infusion of leaves in water (you'd be using violets instead obviously) and then adding sugar, which is sorta kinda your violet syrup, no?

I would think/hope that the violet flavor would hold up to the high temperatures necessary. That's another reason I thought the violet flavoring might useful (plus I was just darn curious if anyone made it :-)

Let us know if you try it. Always fun to experiment.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 5:20PM
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I'm thinking of ordering that violet flavor, Malna. After all, I may not have a bumper crop of violets this year.

It's good to know the science behind a thing. Thanks for the research.

It will probably be another couple of weeks before we have violets; I'm in Iowa. I'll surely let you know how it turns out.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 11:35PM
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Cannond, I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner. I haven't found my violet jelly recipe yet, but will post it when I do. It is pretty much the same as Malna's. The recipe called for packing the violets in a quart jar after they'd been rinsed, then pouring in the boiling water. My recipe said to let steep overnight. Everyone wanted a jar of it and I wound up with none left for myself. I did, however, get to taste the little bits left in the pot. Everyone who got a jar of it wanted more. I put a little bit of food coloring in the pan to give it a little more color, but that isn't necessary at all and if you wanted to enter a jar in the county fair, it may not be allowed. I'm thinking I need to try to make it again this year just for the heck of it and so I can enjoy some, too.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 1:53PM
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I made malna's recipe using twice as many laboriously hand picked wild violets and had let them soak for 24 hours. The tea was very nicely purple. As soon as I put in the lemon juice it turned pink. Nice, but not violet colored. The taste is like ... well, nothing really. Sorta just pectin, sugar and a hint of citrus, not flowery or any specific flavor at all. Perhaps a connoisseur of violet jellies could taste it, but not me. I put the little jars on the shelf with the lemon balm jelly and the rosemary jelly where they will probably sit until I mix them with something that needs a mild jelly to tone down a strong flavor of something else, like fresh raspberry sauce for ice cream (not re-canned).

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:50PM
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We've had a late spring, but on April 30th I noted the first violets, not very many, but promising.

Then, yesterday, we got an inch of snow. I think I'll have to wait for next year's violets.

There cherry blossoms have turned brown and because of excessive rain I have 100 pds. of seed potatoes still to be planted. I'm undone.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 7:41PM
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