Once again, the beautiful, purple-blue sweet violets are dotting the landscape. Where I live, they are in full bloom and will remain that way for the next few weeks. Last year I shared a traditional candied violet recipe with egg white as well as instructions for harvesting….this year, I wanted to share two recipes for violets both using sustainable, local ingredients: honey and maple syrup. As a reminder, with any wild food foraging, please abide by ethical and safety guidelines (see my two-part series of posts on wild food foraging here and here).
Honeyed violets are so simple to make and so wonderful. They also make a great gift! All that you do is gather up a bunch of violets, wash them, and then dry them and stick them in a jar full of local honey (maybe even from your own beehives!) To make the violets, stuff them in the jar and add honey. The violets will all float to the surface and stay that way (which is fine as long as they are fully coated in honey). They will also slowly fade their color over time, but that’s just more violety goodness going into the honey. I have found that violets preserved this way last six months or more!
The alternative recipe is to dry out the violets first then add them to the honey–I have a jar of dried honeyed violets that is over a year old and still good. I enjoy having honeyed violets with my tea–I add a teaspoon of honeyed violets to a cup of warm tea!
Candied Violets with Maple Syrup
I decided to take the traditional “candied violets” recipe that uses sugar water or egg white and sugar and give it a locally-produced spin. Enter: maple-sugar coated violets! For this recipe, you can start with either maple syrup or maple sugar (again, you can produce this yourself in the early spring!)
For either version, start by picking some lovely fresh violets.
Wash your violets….
….and then let them dry.
Now, get a small saucepan. Either add maple syrup to the saucepan OR dissolve a few tablespoons of maple sugar in the saucepan with hot water (I did the second, but either works as effectively). For maple sugar, I added 3 tbsp of maple sugar and 2 tbsp of water and dissolved it.
Then, add your violets.
After they are coated, you can pull them out one by one, laying them on some waxed paper or parchment paper to dry.
The less maple they have on them, the longer they take to dry. I also chose to sprinkle my violets with a little extra maple sugar.
Place your violets somewhere where they can spend the next two to three days drying. Once they are dry, they will shrivel up a bit, but otherwise retain their color wonderfully.
I like to sit these on the table during meals as a little additional treat.
You can also grind them up and use them as sustainable sprinkles on cookies, cakes, and ice cream.
I love how sustainable these two violet recipes are–I made both with honey and maple sugar produced right here on my homestead.