Monday, May 13, 2013

The incredible edible....violet?

Yes! Spring has sprung, and so have the birds, flowers, herbs, and all things green and life giving. One of the things i have enjoyed about moving to the middle of nowhere and becoming a mother is gardening. It's something i wasn't able to explore living in big citites (not enough room, not enough time). I truly love it, planting a seed and watching it grow seems almost mundane and miraculous all at once. My true love in the garden are the flowers and herbs. Herbs have such a vast variety of uses, healing properties, and flowers add such beauty to the garden, and the places in the house they grace. Amazingly some of those beauties are indeed edible, and some have special healing properties to boot. Among edible flowers are the violet, nasturtium, roses, johnny jump ups (another type of violet), chamomile, among many many others. There are violets that have been growing on the side of my mother in law's house, and also wild in the fields and grasses here. If you wish to grow violets be sure you are buying the real deal, as the large blossomed cultivars have no medicinal properties. And if you find them be absolutely sure of what you are picking. Violets are said to be good coughs, asthma, bronchitis, eczema, colds, sore through, and has also been said to have been used as cancer treatment! The flowers, leaves, and roots can be used. For now i have only tried things with the flowers themselves. They can be used in salads, dried for tea, used in vinegar, put into ice cubes, and sugared for a dessert garnish. 

Or you can even make your own floral water! Find a great tutorial here.

A great page with instructions on how to make herbal vinegars is 

Try a simple salad with mixed baby greens, your freshly picked violets, some fresh herbs, and this amazing vinaigrette. 

If you want to crystallize them do this!

This would be so pretty on a simple cake!

For ice cubes simply add a couple to each compartment in the tray and freeze. Then add to lemon water, iced tea, or a fancy cocktail. 

To dry for tea simply place in a paper bag and poke holes in it so air can circulate. When completely dry you can use alone for tea or mix with other herbal teas. I like to mix 

1 c. dried nettles
1c. dried raspberry leaves
1/2 c. dried chamomile 
1/4 to 1/2 c. dried violet leaves

flowers drying for tea

violets growing on the ground

Lyric sat down in a patch of violets and ate them

collecting violets

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