I mentioned mountain color in the last post and as much as I like green, I think purple has to be a close second. We have thousands of wild violets in our yard this time of year. They make a really nice blanket of purple in the still-alive-until-summer green grass we have. I hate cutting grass with a passion and my excuse is usually something along the lines of, “I hate to lose all of the pretty flowers that the bees need so much right now.” It has nothing to do with my being lazy of course…it’s for the bees!
Anyhow, I was perusing the interwebs the other day and a blogger I follow, Woodridge, posted a recipe for violet blossom jelly. Check out the original there but I am going to include the recipe here for my own reference too. Woodridge writes from East Virginia, the lesser cousin of West Virginia…
So, Abigail, Emily and I set about picking violet blossoms the other day. Abigail wanted to take some creative license with the recipe so she included a generous helping of green grass also. I picked it out…I have eaten both violets and grass before and only one is really suitable for my palette. Evidently I misread the recipe too as I insisted we pick twice as many blossoms as we needed. We just made a double batch. Many other recipes I found used less blossoms for a single batch but I figured if some is good, more is better which was in line with this recipe anyhow:
- 3 – 4 cups fresh violet blossoms
- 3 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 package (1 3/4 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- Rinse and drain fresh-picked Violet blossoms; place in a large heat-resistant glass bowl or Pyrex measuring cup.
- Pour boiling water over the blossoms. Allow to steep until cool, then cover and allow to stand overnight.
- Strain blossoms and reserve violet liquid. Discard blossoms.
- Measure violet liquid; add enough water to measure 3 1/2 cups (liquid will be blue-green).
- Pour liquid into a large stainless steel pot.
- Measure 4 cups sugar (exactly 4 cups) and reserve.
- Stir in lemon juice and pectin. Place pot on stove top and bring to full rolling boil on high heat.
- Add 4 cups sugar all at once and stir continuously until sugar completely dissolves. The mixture will turn a reddish-violet (depending upon the color of the Violet blossoms). Continue stirring until mixture comes to a hard rolling boil. Stir exactly 1 minute (use a timer), then remove from heat.
- Skim foam. Carefully ladle hot liquid into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
- Wipe jar rims, add lids and screw rings. Adjust lids, place jars in canner and make sure boiling water covers jelly jar lids by 1 inch or more.
- Cover, bring canning water to a boil.
- Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes. (Adjust timing for elevations over 1,000 feet above sea level.)
- Remove from boiling water bath and allow to cool (and ping!).
- When cooled, check seals and refrigerate any jars that failed to seal properly.
Yield: 5 half-pints.
Anyhow, the jelly is a beautiful light purple and is some of the prettiest food I have ever seen. It has a super mild flavor and is a little earthy…maybe. I am not sure if that is the right word. Wild is more like it maybe? But that sounds bad…like eating poorly cooked ‘possum or something. Anyhow, it is a light, subtle flavor and will be a really nice addition to our breakfast toast. If you have some violets, whip up a batch and let me know how you would describe the flavor!