Edible Wild Violets: Syrup and Salad
This is foraging part 2 of 2 for the spring season, after my successful attempt with wild garlic mustard.
Another hard to mistake wild edible: violets! Not the kind you find in your house pot but easily found in many yards, forests, cracks of sidewalks, etc… Wild violets have been used here in North America since the beginning by Indigenous peoples who knew of its medicinal properties – used for headaches, dysentry, stomach ailments, and skin ailments. It’s a useful flower! The flowers come in different shades and are often clustered in areas (I found a couple clusters, hence the different shades).
You can eat both the leaves and the flowers. We put them both as additions into salad or you can use the leaves for tea as well (being a mild, earthy flavour I imagine) which is good for digestion/stomach ailments.
Most intriguing to me was using solely the flowers to make a syrup with. I based my attempt on this recipe from Lavender and Lovage (beautiful pictures there!) but my amounts were guess-timates and different than those given so I improvised it. My advise, go a little easier on the sugar.
You can use the syrup for baking, for making drinks (#gartending – drinks made from the garden!), adding to lemonade, on Belgian waffles with cream – take it as far as your creativity goes! I’ve added some to yoghurt but it was a poor decision, the delicate taste of the syrup was overwhelmed by the tart yoghurt. It’s not a bold syrup but one that adds a delicate twist to your kitchen endeavours.