Finding Wild Violets
Common wild violets can be found in many parts of North America, from the eastern seaboard to the Midwest and beyond. They typically grow in moist, shady areas such as wooded areas, meadows, and along stream banks. You can easily identify them by their heart-shaped leaves and characteristic five-petaled purple flowers.
When foraging for wild violets, it's important to make sure you're not trespassing on private property or harvesting from areas that have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. Also, be sure to leave plenty of flowers behind so that the plant can continue to reproduce and provide food for pollinators.
Making Violet Syrup
Once you've collected your wild violets, it's time to make violet syrup. Here's a simple recipe:
- 2 cups of wild violets (stems removed)
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- Rinse the wild violets gently to remove any dirt or debris.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the violets and water.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
- Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth, pressing down on the flowers to extract as much liquid as possible.
- Return the liquid to the saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
- Reduce the heat to low and let the syrup simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and let it cool completely.
- Store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Using Violet Syrup
Violet syrup can be used in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Add it to sparkling water or lemonade for a refreshing and floral beverage that kids will surely love!
- Drizzle it over pancakes or waffles for a sweet and fragrant breakfast.
- Use it as a topping for ice cream or yogurt.
- Use it as a flavoring in cakes, cookies, or frosting.
Foraging for wild violets and making violet syrup is a fun and rewarding way to connect with nature and enjoy the bounty of spring. Whether you're using the syrup to flavor your favorite beverages or adding it to your favorite recipes, the delicate flavor and beautiful color of violet syrup is sure to delight your senses. So go out and explore the outdoors, and see what treasures you can find!