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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Violet Syrup... oh yes please...

So yesterday was round two of violet steeping... this time I made Violet Syrup. Way more sugar than the jelly, which is horrifying, but then again, it is syrup. But to me, it's like this... it's a natural product, I made with my own hands, I can pronounce and spell every single ingredient and can count the number of ingredients on one hand.

Used with discretion, this will be a refreshing and rewarding treat this summer.

Some uses for Violet Syrup:

  • drizzled over pancakes or waffles
  • added to seltzer or club soda for a sparkling beverage
  • used to sweeten iced tea, hot tea, lemonade, etc
  • gourmet desserts and baked goods

I think you can be pretty creative with this.  Like the jelly, it is very sweet with a subtle floral flavor I can't describe any better than saying it tastes like violets. Very helpful, I know.

Violets also have a deep history of medicinal uses, as described in several herbal books that I have, and touched on nicely in this article from The flowers, leaves and roots all have medicinal and nutritional uses and are rich in vitamins A and C.

Read more about Violets here.

The Violet syrup recipe origins are yet again a mystery, but based on the article linked above, I'd guess it's been around a long time and modernized with each new age.

There are many variations of the recipe out there, the blog 5 Orange Potatoes shows another, plus some delicious sounding beverage recipes I will surely be trying this summer.

Four cups of steeped violets made this even deeper, richer, more purple liquid...

Violet Syrup
[printer friendly]

  • 4 cups fresh violets*
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 6 cups sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon, strained (measuring 1/4 cup lemon juice)
  • 2 cups water

Place flowers in a glass jar or bowl, pour boiling water over and gently push flowers under water.

Cover and set aside on the counter to steep for 24 hours. Stir or swirl once or twice to keep the flowers submerged.

Strain flowers through several layers of cheese cloth or very fine sieve in a separate bowl.

Squeeze the extra liquid gently out of the blossoms, then compost or toss them back out in the yard or garden. Set aside.

Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in 6 quart saucepan and bring to a boil.

Boil until syrup thickens, about 3 minutes.  Test by placing a small amount on a dish to cool. Don't judge by what you see in the pan, hot sugar/syrup will seem thin until it cools.

Slowly add violet water and bring back up to a rolling boil.

Boil for 10 minutes or until thickened. (Mine took about 15-18 to get to a nice thick consistency when tested on a plate).

Pour into a sterile jar, allow to cool, then seal and refrigerate.

Makes 3 pint size jars, plus a little bit extra.

This is a pretty popular variation seen around if you google this recipe: substitute 4 cups fragrant rose petals and add one stick of cinnamon per bottle of syrup.

*ALWAYS use flowers from chemical free untreated areas.


After much discussion with Marisa over at Food In Jars, we've come to a unanimous agreement that floral syrups should not be canned.

It is common practice with many bloggers to water bath process them and that is where I originally first started to do so. But the FDA does not offer any recommendations for floral syrups.

The reason for this advisement is that after 6 months I noticed major changes in my processed jars. There were 'colonies' of 'something' growing. Neither of us were able to determine what exactly it was but it was every single jar of both Violet and Dandelion Syrups had something growing in them.

There was no off-gassing or expansion, bubbling, or off-odor, but it almost looked like the 'mother' you would find in cider vinegar and kombucha.

Without testing there is no way to know, but it seemed to resemble a fungus of some sort. Possibly something that was on the flowers.  Both types of floral syrups seemed to grow different 'colonies'. I canned several different batches over a period of one month, all from flowers from my own yard, and all but two jars had something growing.

I have been growing, making and preserving my own foods for a very long time and have not seen this before.

So, if you are going to can these types of syrups I would advise against doing so, but if you decide to, I would use them in short order.

It's my feeling that it is best to refrigerate floral syrups in sterile jars.

See my posts on:

Making Violet Syrup
Making Dandelion Syrup
Floral Syrups - Things you should know


dirty hippy said...

M and I picked some this morning, I'm looking forward to tasting...thanks so much for sharing.

cmv... said...

Yay! Let me know what you think. I picked more today too and started another batch for syrup, this time with about 6 cups of loosely packed blossoms to see if there is much difference in flavor.

The InTolerant Chef said...

I have heaps of native violets coming up in my yard, but I don't know how fragrant they are yet. Hopefully I'll be able to use them this way. I have got a bottle of French violet syrup, but I love making things myself. Thanks for the ideas!

cmv... said...

How fun if you make some to see how it compares to the bottle you have! I would think you could play with this some and maybe soak more flowers then simmer it down some before adding sugar to make a more condensed syrup. Violets aren't very fragrant so don't judge your blooms on that, I try to choose the more deeply colored one's instead but really when you're aiming for 4 cups worth, you start to relax your standards a bit. haha

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