One of the first heralds of spring in my backyard every year is a huge blanket of tiny purple violets. I love seeing those delicate little flowers pop up, proudly proclaiming, “Come out and play!” Since I haven’t mowed the backyard yet, our yard is buzzing with sleepy bees and the first tiny white butterflies, feeding on the nectar of the dead nettle, dandelions and violets. However, did you know that it’s not just bees that love violets? With a little time and patience, you can harvest the violets in your backyard to make violet simple syrup!
Making this simple syrup is really fun and can be a great way for you and your child to bond. It’s also a lovely Mother’s Day gift. Below is a step by step guide that I recently followed myself. Enjoy!
Go grab your gardening hat and a bowl. Find a patch of violets, and get to picking! You can pinch and twist the violets off the stem or use a tiny pair of scissors. You only want the purple parts, no green or it will make the syrup bitter. For my recipe, I harvested one loosely packed cup of violets.
Take your one cup of violets and mix them in a bowl with one cup of water. Cover the bowl, and let it sit for 24 hours.
Time to drain the violet water from the violets. Using a colander, sieve and/or cheesecloth, squeeze all the water out of the violets. The violets can now be composted or disposed of.
Now is the only step that needs some adult supervision. Heat up the violet water using some version of a bain-marie before adding in the sugar. Basically, you need to slowly dissolve one cup of sugar into the violet solution, without actually boiling it. As you can see, I did this by boiling water in my soup pot, placing my strainer above the boiling water and then resting a final saucepan in the strainer with the violet water, so that it’s being heated by the boiling water below.
Once your violet water is warm, begin slowly stirring in your cup of sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, immediately take it off the heat and carefully pour it into a glass jar. The simple syrup will be blue at first, but to turn it purple, you can add a couple drops of lemon juice!
Now that you’ve made your violet simple syrup, keep it in the fridge and it will last for months! Use it to make violet lemonade, fancy ice cubes or to moisten baked goodies.
For fun, I decided to do some experiments with density using the violet syrup and other things I found in my pantry. This cool science extension can be paired with eBook “Density” for young learners on Hoopla.
I was particularly thrilled with the combination of honey, violet syrup and heavy whipping cream. Not only is it beautiful, but it also makes an AMAZING substitute for a Starbucks London Fog. Just dunk the whole thing into your morning cup of black tea. You’re welcome.