Wild Edibles—Violet Jelly

This spring, I discovered a wonderful wild flower that was a lot more than just beautiful to look at! I was visiting a dear friend in Ohio and as we went for a hike I noticed these beautiful purple flowers all over the place! 

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Researching them (ALWAYS do your research before eating/using things from the wild!), I discovered that these flowers were in fact a wild violet. The wild violet flower grows white, purple or yellow petals, and the leaves are a dark, lush green. The most common I saw were the purple, but I did see some white as well. The wild violet blooms in the spring and the petals fall off when temperatures start to heat up.

The entire plant is edible, and can be eaten either raw or cooked. The greens taste good fried-up with some wild chives, butter, salt and pepper, and the flowers are a tasty snack raw or can be made into jelly! This is what I am going to share with you today. I got the recipe from HERE. Check it the entire website for many other detailed wild-edible plant identification, recipes and resources. 

To make wild violet jelly, I first needed to pick the flower heads off the wild violets. My friend and kids helped pick, so I didn’t take too long to fill a couple of small bowls.

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Measure 3 cups of flower heads (packing them down in the cup) into a glass bowl.

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Then pour 4 cups of boiling water over them, stir, cover, and place in a dark place (or throw a towel over the whole thing). Let the bowl sit for 24 hours.

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After 24 hours, all the colour and flavour of the petals will have transferred into the liquid, and this ‘juice’ is what we will use to make our jelly. Carefully pour the flower heads through a colander, then the liquid through a paper coffee filter to strain out any bits.

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You should be left with a container of dark purple juice that has a earthy, kind of funky smell. The jelly doesn’t taste like that, I promise!

At this point you can put the violet liquid in the fridge if you are going to make jelly in the next couple days, in the freezer for longer term storage (just thaw and use it in the recipe like normal) or you can make the jelly right now!  

Instructions for Wild Violet Jelly

Measure out 3 1/2 cups of violet juice liquid, and put in a large pot. Add 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, and 2 packages of powdered pectin.

Adding powdered pectin to the violet and lemon juice.

Adding powdered pectin to the violet and lemon juice.

Stir till the pectin is dissolved, then place pot on the stove and bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.

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Once the liquid starts to boil add 3 cups cane sugar and stir constantly until it comes to a rolling boil again. Let it boil at a rolling boil for exactly 1 minute stirring constantly. 

At this point the liquid will foam up and you will have to stir really fast! It also turns from a dark purple to a pretty light pink colour. Once the 1 minute is over take the pot off the stove and skim the foam off the top.

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Carefully ladle the hot liquid into clean, hot jars. Wipe jar rims with a wet cloth, and place hot lids on and tighten bands. (if you are unfamiliar with canning, look up the basics to help you understand this step!)

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Let sit undisturbed for 24 hours and the jar lids will seal as they cool. And... your jelly is done! This jelly has a wonderful taste, sweet and distinct, with a beautiful pink colour!  

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The entire recipe (taken from HERE) in short form is below:

Ingredients

>> 3 cups fresh picked wild violet flowers (only purple flowers)
>> 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
>> 3 cups organic cane sugar
>> 2 boxes pectin (57 grams each)

Instructions

Place flowers into a bowl. Pour boiling water into the bowl until full (minimum 4 cups water). Stir to release air bubbles. Cover the bowl and keep it out of bright light for 24 hours.

Line a colander with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and strain. The liquid will be dark sapphire blue.

In a pan, mix 3 ½ cups of the violet liquid and lemon juice then bring to a boil and let boil one minute. Add sugar and pectin then bring back to a hard boil – then let boil one minute.

Remove from heat and skim the top is needed.

Place into sterilized mason jars, seal, and process in boiling water. The final colour of the jelly will be fuschia.