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Wild Violet Simple Syrup

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Wild Violet Simple Syrup

Have wild violets growing in your lawn? Collect some of the flowers, while they’re in bloom, and use them to make wild violet simple syrup. It’s the perfect way to preserve their gorgeous color, heady fragrance and delicate fruity flavor for year-round use.

Wild violet simple syrup can be used to sweeten and flavor lemonade, iced tea, sparkling water, cocktails and mocktails. Just a splash is all it takes to turn drinks a lovely shade of purple.

You can also drizzle the syrup over cakes and baked goods, to infuse them with the flavor and fragrance of violets.

Wild Violets

How to Identify and Harvest Wild Violets for Your Simple Syrup

Wild violets are native to the United States and Canada (zones 3-9), but they also grow in other parts of the world, including Mexico, Europe and Australia. They prefer shade, so you’ll often find them growing in the woods and in shady lawns, but they also do quite well in the sun. There are hundreds of varieties of wild violet, all of which are edible.

Wild Violet Sketch

Wild violets bloom early in the spring, and are easily identified by their five-petal flowers and heart-shaped leaves, which have serrated, saw-toothed edges.

While wild violets are often deep purple in color, they can also be lavender, periwinkle, white, or yellow. For this syrup, we’re after the deep purple ones because they’ll give us the best color.

Bowl of Wild Violets

Harvesting wild violets is easy. Just pinch off the flowers, leaving the stems behind and the plants intact. If the calyxes are large (that’s the green part on the underside of the flower that holds all the petals together), go ahead and pinch them off, too. They’re edible, but you don’t want to add a bunch of green plant material to your simple syrup, or it might not turn out as purple as you want. The wild violet variety that grows in my yard has a small calyx, so I save time and leave them on.

Look-Alikes

Vinca minor (periwinkle) also has five-petal purple flowers that bloom in the spring, but its simple, glossy, evergreen leaves and creeping growth habit make it easy to distinguish from wild violets.

African violets (Saintpaulia) are a common houseplant whose flowers bear a strong resemblance to those of wild violets, but they aren’t in the same genus, and are not edible.

Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) is the only toxic wild violet look-alike. It has yellow flowers, so if you stick to purple violets, there won’t be any chance of a mix-up.

If you’re at all uncertain about your identification, ask an expert. Your local ag extension office is an excellent resource, and they should be familiar with the wild violet varieties that grow in your area.

Warning: Do not use wild violets that have been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers that aren’t deemed food-safe. Avoid harvesting flowers near high-traffic roads, and always ask permission, before picking on land (public or private) that you don’t own.

Wild Violet Simple Syrup Recipe

This recipe makes approximately 1 cup of wild violet-infused simple syrup. To make more, simply double or triple the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup loosely-packed wild violets, stems and leaves removed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring (optional)
Measuring Cup Full of Wild Violets

How to Measure Wild Violets

This recipe calls for 1 cup of loosely-packed wild violets. To get the proper measurement, just fill a one-cup measuring cup with violets, until they’re level with the top. There’s no need to pack them down.
Wild Violet Infusion

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Then, remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the flowers. Cover, and let sit for 24 hours, This will infuse the water with the flavor, scent and color of the wild violets.

Your water could turn anywhere from a pale blue or lavender to a deep purple. Every batch is different.

Fill the bottom of a double boiler half full with water. Then, pour the flower-water mixture and the sugar into the top of the double boiler. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves in the water and forms a thin syrup. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.

Pro Tip: If you don’t own a double boiler, It’s easy to make one. just fill a medium saucepan half full with water. Bring the water to a simmer. Then, set a medium heat-proof bowl on top of the pan, and pour your flower-water mixture into the bowl. The steam from the simmering water will gently heat your violet infusion, so the delicate flavor of the violets isn’t lost.

Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the violets.

Batches of Wild Violet Simple Syrup

If your syrup isn’t as purple as you’d like, stir in a couple drops of food coloring.

Pour your wild violet simple syrup into a jar, and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then, store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Want to enjoy wild violet simple syrup throughout the year? It freezes beautifully, so go ahead and make a bunch. Freeze it in ice cube trays, to create individual 2 tablespoon (1 ounce) servings, or freeze entire batches in freezer jars (just be sure to leave an inch of headspace for expansion).

How to Make Sugar-Free Wild Violet Simple Syrup

For a sugar-free version of this recipe, replace the sugar with your favorite 1:1 sugar substitute. Easy!

How to Make Wild Violet Rich Syrup

To create a thicker syrup, that has the consistency of pancake syrup, just double the sugar in this recipe. This will yield two cups of wild violet rich syrup. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

How to Use Wild Violet Simple Syrup

Stir 1 ounce of wild violet simple syrup into a glass of lemonade, iced tea, sparkling water, a cocktail or a mocktail. Use 1 cup of syrup to make a pitcher of lemonade or sweet tea. Drizzle the syrup over an un-iced cake to make the cake extra moist, and infuse it with the flavor and scent of violets.

Once you have a jar of this syrup in your fridge, you’ll find all sorts of uses for it.

More Uses for Wild Violets

If you have an abundance of wild violet flowers in your yard, you can also use them to decorate baked goods and salads, to infuse sugar, honey and vinegar and to make jelly, tea or candy. There are so many tasty possibilities to explore. The leaves are edible, too. Pick them when they’re young, and add them to salads. Both the flowers and the leaves are rich in Vitamin A and C.

Wild violets are an important food source for early pollinators, like bees and butterflies, so it’s time to stop treating them like weeds and start embracing them in our lawns.

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Wild Violet Simple Syrup

Wild Violet Simple Syrup

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Wild violets are native to much of the United States and Canada. Gather some of the flowers, when they’re in season in early spring, and use them to make this wild violet simple syrup.

  • Total Time: 24 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup loosely-packed wild violets, stems and leaves removed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring (optional)

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Then, remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the flowers. Cover, and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Fill the bottom of a double boiler half full with water. Pour the flower-water mixture into the top of the double boiler. Add the sugar; then, heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and forms a thin syrup.

Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the violets. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Then, pour your violet simple syrup into a jar. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Freeze it, to store it longer.

Notes

  • If your simple syrup isn’t as purple as you’d like, add a couple drops of food coloring.
  • For a sugar-free version, replace the sugar with your favorite 1:1 sugar substitute.
  • To make a rich syrup, double the sugar.
  • Use 1 ounce of syrup to flavor a glass of lemonade, iced tea, sparkling water, or a cocktail or mocktail. Use 1 cup of syrup to make a pitcher of lemonade.
  • Author: Erin Huffstetler
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Syrups
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Global

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