Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gather Ye Violets While Ye May...

Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~ Mark Twain

Violets are a lovely early spring flower currently blooming profusely in many areas. I have many fond memories as a child of gathering large bouquets of very long-stemmed, large-blossomed purple and white violets, which grow still in the fertile Indiana soil. A wonderful bonus is the fact that these blossoms are not only beautiful, they are edible! Popular recipes include sugared violet blossoms for use on cakes and cupcakes; use of the blossoms in salads; violet blossom ice cubes for special cold drinks; and, last but certainly not least, violet jelly. Here follows is a traditional recipe for jelly made from purple violets to serve on biscuits, croissants, or scones. This recipe makes four or five half-pint jars. Enjoy!

You will need:
• 2 heaping cups of fresh purple violet petals
• 2 C boiling water
• 1/4 C well-strained, clear lemon juice
• 4 C sugar
• 3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)

The best time to gather violets is in mid-morning after the dew has evaporated. Gather from a pesticide-free area 2 cups worth of fully opened fresh violet petals, not partially opened buds, for better color and more intense flavor. Carefully wash using a spray attachment on a kitchen sink, remove all stems, drain and place in Pyrex cup or bowl. Pour boiling water over petals and let steep from 2 to 24 hours.

Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the clear, purplish liquid. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 24 hours. Prepare 5 half-pint jelly jars by washing the jars, rings and lids in hot, soapy water and then sterilizing them by boiling for 10 minutes. Dry on a rack until ready to use.

To make the jelly, stir lemon juice and sugar into liquid in a two-quart stainless steel pan. Bring to a full rolling boil. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil two minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface.

Ladle quickly into clean boiled jelly jars, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Screw band on tightly and invert jar on tea towel for about five to 10 minutes. Jars should seal and lids should pop shut within 10 minutes as they cool. If they do not seal, you can place them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or place in the refrigerator. Sealed jars will last up to one year in a cool, dark place. Unsealed jelly must be put in the refrigerator, and lasts up to a month.

Cassandra's Antique Violet Jelly Pot

2 comments:

  1. This is a first, I have never heard of violet jelly before.
    I have a friend who loves to make jams and I know she would love this recipe. It will make a lovely gift...something violet with this recipe included. Thanks so much for the thought!

    Jeanne:)

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  2. Dear Cassandra, I had always heard that Krakow was a beautiful city and a must to be visited. Your posting, together with such wonderful images, has totally convinced me and I shall make every attempt to go this year [happily not too far from Budapest]. You clearly had a most enjoyable holiday and I am so pleased.

    Thank you so much for leaving a comment, to which I have replied, on my 'Hats' posting and for becoming a 'Follower'. I am doubly glad to welcome you as recent problems with my computer meant that I 'lost' a number of sites I was following - yours included. Hopefully, I can put this right now.

    As I have mentioned to a number of 'Followers', I am afraid that, for very sad reasons, I am unable to comment or post for the next ten days or so. But, I do assure you, I will return and shall look forward to catching up with your postings at the start of May.

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