Forager Files: Wild Violets
Learn to sustainably forage and craft Water, Syrup, and Tincture from Wild Violets.
One of the earliest gifts of the newly sprung season, Wild Violets speckle the greening earth with deep, royal-purple, light. They appear overnight almost as gemstones rising from the wet dirt, often even before the infamous dandelions and perennial daffodils.
These little gems are more than just beautiful—Wild Violets provide crucial nutrients to our first arriving pollinators. In early spring, food is hard to come by and what humans may see as a random wild flower (or worse—a weed!) is actually life sustaining nutrients for bees, butterflies, and other insects pivotal in maintaining our circle of life. Without them the majority of our most beloved plants, animals, and foods would not survive! Therefore it is no exaggeration to say humans also need the Wild Violet.
But beyond just needing them to support our pollinators, we can enjoy them too!
Here’s three simple ways how:
Violet Water, Violet Syrup, and Violet Tincture!
Before we’re ready to craft anything, we must first harvest the Violets. Retrieve a clean basket, bucket, bag, or jar, and head outside! For the beginning forager the most important information to remember is to always harvest in a way that is safe for you and the rest of the creatures that depend on these plants for life.
Never forage in areas that may be affected by pesticides or other chemicals, receive permission to forage on other land, always leave more than half of what you‘ve discovered in-tact for your animal neighbors, and to ensure healthy plant populations in the future.
To harvest your violets simply pop the heads of the flowers off with your fingers or snap the stems just below the flower. For a more vegetal essence in your violet water or tea, include the leaves and stems in your gathering.
*Keep in mind a packed cup of flowers looks much less than a jar full of loose flowers. Forage more than you may think, especially if you wish to dry the botanicals.
2 Pint Sized (16 oz.) Mason Jars & Lids
1 Cup of foraged, rinsed, and packed Violets
1 Cup of Hot Water
3-4 Drops Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Combine the Violets, hot water, and lemon juice in a mason jar. Ensure all the flowers are submerged in the hot water and allow to steep overnight. Once steeped, strain the liquid into another mason jar and use a wooden spoon to press all of the remaining color out of the flowers to brighten your Violet Water.
Compost the leftover flowers, or throw them back into your garden.
Enjoy the violet water as is, or use as the base for a Violet Syrup with the recipe below!
Reserved Violet Water
1 Cup Honey Syrup
Create an easy honey syrup by dissolving two parts of honey into one part hot water. Add one cup of the warm honey syrup to the violet water and deftly stir until dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature and store in the fridge for 2-4 weeks.
1 Cup foraged, rinsed, and packed, Violets
1 Cup High Proof Clear Alcohol
1 Cup Distilled Water
Combine the violets, alcohol, and water in a jar. Ensure that all of the flowers are submerged in liquid. Steep overnight or as long as several weeks. Strain the liquid into another Mason jar and press the remaining color out of the flowers.
Use as a topical liniment around the glands or take several drops orally as a lymphatic boost.
Recipes by Angie Jackson. Photographs by Austin Wines.
Article by Austin and Angie.
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