Violet Syrup

Violets letting off their gentle essence, which will soon become syrup
Violets letting off their gentle essence, which will soon become syrup

There’s not much better than the gift of spring flowers and foliage after a long and seemingly endless winter.  To that end, I’ve been taking every opportunity to celebrate the return of visible life & recovery.  I’ve also recently taken up running (to be honest–jogging) as a hobby/fitness routine.  I’ve noticed so many violets popping up here and there in small clusters.  I’ve read things about using violets in salads or even making tinctures or syrups from them, but I hadn’t tried it so I told myself when I came across a patch of enough of them I’d give it a try.  Alas, I really didn’t find any that weren’t in someone’s yard so I gave up on the notion this year.  Then, while running an errand within a few blocks of downtown, I came across this hillside…

Urban hillside covered in violets & dandelions
Urban hillside covered in violets & dandelions

Boom!  I had found my source.  Fortunately, I had my husband with me so it only took about 15 minutes or so before we had harvested about 3 cups worth of violet blossoms.  Looking back at the hill afterward, we couldn’t even tell we’d picked much so I didn’t feel bad that this was technically private property–although not a private residence.

So many flowers--so much beauty
So many flowers–so much beauty

So, when I got back home, I gently sifted the flowers around in a colander to make sure we didn’t have any undesirables, then tossed them into a clean canning jar. I boiled an equal amount of water & poured it over the flowers then let the mixture sit for a day.  After that, I strained the “tea” into a saucepan, added 1/2 the volume of sugar (1.5 cups) & turned the heat to medium-low just long enough to melt the sugar then the mixture went into a clean Mason jar with 1/4 cup of vodka as a preservative.

I’ve tried it in two different drinks, one with alcohol, one without. I definitely think I’ll either use more blossoms or less water next year as it’s such a subtle flavor. I’m really looking forward to our next brunch so I can add it to mimosas or bellinis!

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