Song of Solomon 2:12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
Spring is here! Wildflowers are popping up every where. Besides bringing beauty after dreary winter there are other things you can do with wildflowers. Today we are making wild violet jelly.
Wild violet is a winter perennial, growing 2 – 5 inches tall. The leaves can vary but usually are heart shaped, on long petioles with scalloped to shallow rounded margins. The flowers of wild violet range from white to blue to purple and appear from March to June. Wild violet flowers are pansy-like with three lower petals and two lateral petals on long single flower stalks. Wild Violet leaves actually have medicinal purposes. They are rich in vitamins A and C.
They also contain a type of antioxidant called an anthocyanin.
Wild Violet Jelly
2 heaping cups of fresh violet petals (No stems)
2 C boiling wter
1/4 C well-strained, clear lemon juice
4 C sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)
First you have to pick the violets, and I can see this being an amazing spring tradition. If you have older children they can go on a violet hunt. If you have young children it is a fun time together. My 2 year old learned what violets are and unfortunately what stinging nettle was! I told her, “don’t pick the white ones!” but she did not listen – lesson learned.
One you have two heaping cups full, rinse petals in collander and place in a heat proof glass or non reactive bowl. Pour two cups of boilng water over petals and let steep minimum of 2 hours, up to 24 hours. If not using right away steep in refrigerator. I poured the boiling water over mine and let cool on the counter about an hour and then I put in the fridge.
When you are ready to make the jelly strain the liquid into a glass jar from the flowers. Why the jar… You will see. Bring your kids in they will love this part! Add the juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup lemon juice) and watch the liquid change from a deep blue to a bright magenta!
Then put the liquid in a large pot and mix with 4 cups of sugar. While you are waiting for your sugar water to boil (don’t forget to stir); you can sterilize your canning jars (you will need 4 half pint jars) in the dishwasher or in a pot of boiling water. When your sugar water is at a boil where it cannot be stirred down; add the liquid pectin and boil for 2 minutes. Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/8 inch headspace. Wipe rims. Add lids and rings and process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. These have a shelf life of 1 year.
The taste is hard to describe, but it is very good. I expected it to be very floral like rose water, but it is not. It has its own distinct taste. Also, I have seen variations on the recipe using honey instead of sugar (needs more pectin) And using less sugar and less sugar pectin.
And a post note: Take your two year old child (who is potty training) potty before you start otherwise just as the jelly starts to boil and you need to stir it and watch it for two minutes and ladle it while it is hot – she will need to go potty, throw a fit because you can’t help, and then have an accident you have to clean up!