VioletsViki Mather May 1, 2012
Spring flowers are in full bloom, much to my surprise. It seemed that the forest floor was brown as ever, until I noticed the violets blooming beneath my feet. Pretty little clusters of purple flowers emerged from last year’s fallen leaves. The best part of spring has arrived!
Wild violets come in shades of white, as well as purple. And sometimes you can find yellow violets too, which seems a little odd. The purple ones are the most fun though. Purple violets are great to eat! Just pluck one and have a snack. Might as well pick some leaves too and make a salad of it. The entire violet plant is edible, but of course the flowers are the most appealing.
Violets grow deep in the forest, and if you are lucky they grow right in your lawn. So long as you don’t use any poisons on your lawn you can pick a few flowers every day to beautify your evening salad. White and purple violets are good to eat, but not the yellow ones. Pay attention!
Always be certain of the identification of any wild plant you choose to eat. Make sure it is not an endangered plant, and always leave enough flowers growing wild to nourish the bees and butterflies.
Violets are easy to identify because we have been finding them everywhere since we were little kids. The flowers are plentiful so there is little worry about picking too many.
I have used them to decorate cakes and to garnish special meals. Once we picked two full cups of flowers to make beautiful syrup. That year the flowers were so thick in the woods you couldn’t even tell we had taken so many.
If you find such a bumper crop, pick them carefully until you have at least one full cup. Pour boiling water over the flowers and let them steep for half an hour. Strain out the blossoms and return the ‘tea’ to the pot. Add a half cup of sugar and bring to a boil. Pour this into a small glass jar and seal it. Keep this syrup in the fridge.
You can make violet tea by pouring a bit of the syrup into a cup of hot water. Make a cool summer drink by pouring the syrup into an ice-filled glass of chilled soda water.
Violets have lots of vitamins and minerals and, despite their small size, are worth nibbling on as a spring tonic.
Next time you are out in the yard or in the forest, keep an eye out for the lovely violets and enjoy!
For many years, Viki Mathers and her husband Allan operated Kukagami Lodge, a wonderful off the grid retreat reachable only by boat. They sold the lodge in 2012. They can still be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website: http://kukagamilodge.blogspot.com/