Wild violets are one of the first signs of spring in our woods. Once they open up, the daffodils are not far behind and winter is on the way out. We have a patch of them right at the edge of the yard, and as we’ve fought back the blackberries, the violets have flourished and spread out. I found all these great violet recipes last year after the violets were done, so I was excited for them to return. After seeing enough beautiful wild violet syrup recipes in fancy glass bottles, I decided that was a good place to start.
We have a mix of purple and white violets, and I only picked the purple ones to lend the color to my concoction.
Everything I read said 1:1 parts violets to water, so I picked as many as I could (they are small and it takes a while) and got them soaking in an equal amount of boiling water in a glass dish for about 4 hours. There was a range from 2 hours to 24 hours in what I read, so it would be worthwhile to experiment with that and see if longer soaking makes a stronger syrup.
It was fun straining the violets and seeing the very violet colored liquid left behind. The smell was amazing!
Here’s where things went a little differently than I planned. I read that adding some fresh lemon juice would brighten the color when boiling with the sugar. This had definitely made an amazing difference with my wild rose petal wine, so I thought it would do the same thing with the violet syrup. What it ended up doing was turning that nice violet blue color to more of a purple. I was really digging the original color, so I think another batch is in order.
Unexpected color change aside, this syrup smells and tastes like an old fashioned, flowery valentine. It seriously makes you feel like you’re in one of those Victorian gardens with lace and cherubs everywhere. I’m looking forward to trying my hand at violet sugar, violet cakes, and maybe even some violet cordial.
My final recipe was roughly this:
- 1 cup violets
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- A few drops fresh lemon juice
And with that, I will leave you with one of Christina Rossetti’s Violet Poems:
“As violets so be I recluse and sweet,
Cheerful as daisies unaccounted rare,
Still sunward-gazing from a lowly seat,
Still sweetening wintry air.
While half-awakened Spring lags incomplete,
While lofty forest trees tower bleak and bare,
Daisies and violets own remotest heat
And bloom and make them fair.”