Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Violet

O wind, where have you been,
That you blow so sweet?
Among the violets
Which blossom at your feet. 
The honeysuckle waits
For Summer and for heat
But violets in the chilly Spring
Make the turf so sweet.
An Old Nursery Rhyme

The Violet. The Great Authors and Poets would write of it, the myths and legends of Ancient Civilizations make mention of it, and many a work of Art has been created in its image. Few flowers have been so symbolic of the awakening year, earth's renewal, hope and the simple joys and sorrows of love, as the Violet.

February's birth flower, the Violet can be eaten either raw or cooked. It's flavor can be found in many desserts. The flowers are often candied and used as decorations on cakes, cookies or pastries.

Most people think that the Violet has no fragrance. In actuality a major part of its scent is ketone, a chemical that desensitizes the nasal receptors and making it temporarily impossible to smell anything at all.

Violets are often used in Love Spells and Philters and it restores health after a long illness. A garland of violets around the neck protects from deception and inebriation. And receiving Violets as a gift is very auspicious, especially if they come from your Lover! When Violets appear in your dreams, fortune is not too far away. Violets, normally a Spring blooming flower, will bloom in the Autumn to warn us of impending danger.

Violet Jelly

2 heaping cups of fresh violet petals (see note below)
2 C boiling water
1/4 C well-strained, clear lemon juice
4 C sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)

NOTE: Look for fully opened flowers, not partially opened buds, for better color and more intense flavor. 
Wash petals well, drain and place in heat-proof glass or nonreactive bowl. Pour boiling water over petals and let steep from 30 minutes to 24 hours. It usually takes about two hours for violets. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the clear, purplish liquid or infusion. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 24 hours.
Place jars and lids on rack in pan or stockpot deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, keeping the jars hot until ready to fill.
To make the jelly, stir lemon juice and sugar into reserved infusion in a two-quart nonreactive or stainless steel pan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil two minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface.
Ladle quickly into jars to within about 1/8 inch from the top; clean each rim and threads of the jar as it's filled, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Screw band on tightly and invert jar on tea towel for about five to 10 minutes. Jars should seal and lids should pop shut within 10 minutes as they cool. If they do not seal, you can place them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or place in the refrigerator.
Sealed jars will last up to one year in a cool, dark place. Put any unsealed jelly in the refrigerator. it should keep about three weeks. Makes four or five half-pint jars.


Missy AKA Little Messy Missy said...

Have you tried this recipe before, I am interested in the taste?

Jeanne said...

I personally have never tried this recipe but I can remember my Mom making the jelly when I was a kid. She added some mint to it.
Check with JoyceAnn over at ~~~Feather Spirit~~~ . I believe she has made the jelly before. But don't know what her recipe is.


magikalseasons said...

My very favorite Springtime flower! I only have one kind blooming now. I haven't tried the jelly but I'd love too. :)

Autumnforest said...

Jeanne, I miss those sooooo much out here in the Southwest. When I was growing up in Virginia, they were every where!!! I remembered picking huge bouquets of them and my mom having to put little cups of water all around the house to hold them. I was so fascinated by them, that she would candy them and put them on cakes and cupcakes for me. My mouth still waters whenever I see them!

Carrie Joy Byrnes said...

Oh oh oh so neat! I love this kind of stuff. Can't believe I haven't been by for such awhile. It's that winter hibernation that always gets me!