April 15, 2014

Violet Herb and Violet Jelly


Who doesn't love violets? Historically they have been prized for color and for perfume. Even their Latin name, Viola odorata, hints of that. They are a medicinal herb too, commonly used as a syrup for respiratory complaints, as a traditional herbal treatment for malignant tumors, as a mouthwash (infusion) for mouth ulcers and throat infections, and in high doses as an emetic (to cause vomiting.) Permaculturists value them as a ground cover and dynamic accumulator, and I leave them grow in my garden. As a culinary herb, violets are used to make wine, candied violets, and jelly.

I have two colors of violets: purple, and white and purple. Both are abundant and in full bloom.


To get the best color for jelly, I used the purple. Since I was using Pomona Pectin, I followed their basic jelly recipe.

Violet Jelly

4 cups fresh violet flowers
4 cups boiling filtered water
2 cups white sugar (to obtain purest violet color)
1/2 cup lemon juice (no pulp)
4 tsp. Pomona calcium water
4 tsp. Pomona pectin

Pour boiling water over freshly picked violet blossoms. Let steep overnight.

1 part violet blossoms to 1 part boiling water, allowed to steep overnight.

Pour off violet water and press out flowers to get as much as possible

4 cups strained violet water.

Stir in lemon juice

Look how the lemon juice changed the color!

Stir in calcium water
Mix pectin with sugar and set aside
Bring violet water to a boil
Add sugar/pectin mix and stir until boiling again.
Pour into sterile jars
Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

If I only have a few small jars to process such as half-pints,
I sometimes use a smaller pot than my water bath canner.
These will be gifts, so I used regular lids instead of Tattlers.

I ended up with six half-pints of jelly plus enough to sample.

Violet Jelly

Isn't it pretty? It has a delicate slightly lemon, floral flavor and would make a "something special" addition to any meal.

To read more about violets as herbs:
Violet Herb at Health Care Information
Violet, Sweet at A Modern Herbal


15 comments:

Weekend-Windup said...

Glad to read about violet flower! It looks beautiful.
I have never heard about the violet jelly. It looks good!

Dawn McHugh said...

That looks really pretty, is it a jelly you serve with cold meats.

We have loads of violets in the garden and apart from crystalising a few flowers I have not done anything with them.

Leigh said...

Weekend-Windup, a very fun color, don't you think?

Dawn, I've never tried crystalizing them. Seems like a lot of work except for a very special occasion. The jelly was very easy, and I'm not sure how it might be served. It would certainly be fun to experiment

Nina said...

That would be a beautiful addition to a gift basket, or a lovely hostess gift. Something you certainly couldn't pick up off a regular grocery store shelf!

Woolly Bits said...

I had to laugh - I'd have changed plans immediately - and used the "juice" for dyeing:) I used the black molly violas for that and got a lovely green out of it! I don't really like the concentrated violet taste so much (no pastilles for me either), to me it tastes a bit soapy, so using it for dyeing is alright:)

Leigh said...

Nina, so true. Exotic is probably a good word to describe it, :)

Bettina, yes, the soapy taste. That's because it is rich in saponins. Those are also why violets (especially the roots) can be used as an emetic. Interesting you are so sensitive to it. Perhaps you had a strong dose? Interesting about the dye color! I can't help but wonder if different violet varieties would give different colors.

Stephanie Bateman said...

This will be going in my recipe binder! I had no idea you could do this.

http://caffeinatedhomestead.weebly.com/blog.html

Frank and Fern said...

And I thought violets were just pretty. Thank you for teaching me about their medicinal properties. Now I need to go pick some from my yard while they are still blooming.

Fern

Sandy said...

Leigh,

Very pretty colored jelly. How does this jelly taste? I've never made or had violet jelly before.

Lynda said...

Your jelly is beautiful. I have a small shelf of flower jellies. I give them as gifts. I managed to get 6 1/2 pints of violet, dianthus, dandelion and lilac already this year...next weekend the elderberry, rose and orange blossom will be ready. Don't you love this time of year?

Susan said...

I've never had violet jelly. I discovered lavender jelly a few years ago and it has become a favourite.

Velva said...

OMG! What a beautiful idea. Love, love his.

Velva

P.S. I just signed up for Google+ I have not done anything really with Google site but it has allowed me to comment on folks with Google+.

majorasue said...

Very pretty! I made some prickly pear/apple/jalepeno jelly a few years ago that was the most gorgeous color of pink (and tasted great too).

I made a lot of jams and jellies last summer; just got in a groove and kept making. Funny, since I don't normally eat a lot of jams, but I figured they'd be good for presents (and they have been). But then I discovered that a spoonful is just the right addition to a bowlful of yogurt or ice cream (have to do something with all the milk the goats are giving me, right?) Now I'm rationing it so I don't run out!

Leigh said...

Stephanie, I just learned of it recently myself. Pretty neat, huh?

Fern, it'a wonderful herb to have growing around, isn't it?

Sandy, it has a very light flavor, slightly lemony, slightly flowery. Very good, actually.

Lynda, you've just given me lots of new ideas! Thanks. Dandelions are starting to bloom, so they're next!

Susan, I've never heard of lavender jelly, thank you for mentioning it. I have lavender growing in the front yard!

Velva, isn't it fun?

Sue, now I wish I had some prickly pears growing. I'd like to try that! These herbal jellies are truly easy to make. And I agree jam is great to add to ice cream!

M.E. Masterson said...

Wow this is something new I hadn't seen before. Looks interesting!