A bit about us...

We are a modern family of three, living on less than two acres with a 3,000 square foot garden that meets our produce needs and allows us to share with friends and neighbors. Our laying flock of chickens seems to expand each year as we raise chicks each Spring to replace older hens. This blog is more of a journal, if you will, for us to chronicle and share our experiences in the yard, garden and kitchen. It is our hope that along the way a few folks might learn something, be entertained, or simply enjoy sharing in our stories and the lessons we learn on a daily basis. I named the blog after the times when I am the happiest, when I am elbow deep in earth.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Preserving the wild - Wild Violet Jelly

Just a weed, but so tasty!

I simply can't believe I didn't write about this last year the first time I made it.  If I did, I sure can't find the post now.  Wild Violet jelly is such a unique and short seasoned treat.  I read about it last spring and decided I had to try it. I just went out and picked the required two cups Saturday morning for a new batch this year.  I hope to make several.  

Since I have had some interest in folks purchasing some of my canned and homemade goods, I am trying to think outside the box and include in my canning some less-than-common items that may appeal to those looking for something different for themselves, or for a gift.  If nothing else, this is a cute novelty item.  It doesn't have to be though, it's actually quite tasty.

Now for the how-to:  

I read it takes about 300 blossoms,
but I haven't counted
Pick 2 cups of wild violet blossoms, being careful to remove stems.  I choose only those that are in their prime, fully open and not looking beat up or spent.  I feel this maximizes the flavor and color, as opposed to using partially open blossoms.

Pretty just tossed in a jar

I place them in a quart mason jar for easy closure and steeping.  Add 2 cups of boiling water, making sure to get all blossoms wet.  Then I can just walk away for half the day.  Some recipes say to let them sit for 4-6 hours, others say let them sit overnight.  I believe I let mine sit overnight last year.  

Violet tea

The resulting liquid is a bizarre blue color with some purple hues.  It looks nothing like what I would have expected from the violets, nor does it look anything like the finished jelly product.  Nevertheless, this is the odd color of the "violet tea."  You need 2 cups of this liquid to keep going.  You may need to add a touch of fresh water to get the whole measure needed.

Chemistry is cool!  Look how pink it is...
Then the magic happens, well, chemistry actually.  When the pectin (1 box of regular sure jell) and lemon juice (1/4 c) are added, the color immediately changes to a gorgeous bright pink color with violet undertones.  The color is hard to capture in pictures, but it sure is neat to watch in the pan. 4 cups of sugar is added (it's a ton, I know).  Follow the order for ingredients prescribed by the pectin you use, flex pectin, certo, sure jell, etc.

Once the jelly has reached its gel point, I jar it up and process as any other jelly in the water bath canner for 10 minutes.  It makes the prettiest and spring-iest gifts!  The flavor is hard to describe.  It has a delicate, but noticeable, floral flavor unlike anything I have ever made.  I suppose it's what violets taste like! This jelly is good on an english muffin, but I bet it would sing with cream cheese or perhaps with scones or angel food cake!

I am one who always likes to use every part of things, and be resourceful in my projects.  I can't help but be a fan of anything I can harvest from my yard and at NO cost to me! :-)

Gorgeous gifts!

No comments:

Post a Comment