Friday, May 1, 2009

Violet - Viola odorata

One of the few plants that are blooming right now here in our corner of the world is Violet - Viola odorata. She grows in little bunches beneath a still leafless fruit tree, with friendly grape-scented (it seems to me!) petals.

I have been sitting with her, just soaking in what I can learn from her presence. Here are my impressions.

Violet is a graceful ally, soothing to the mind, the heart.

Yes, with properties for shrinking abnormal growths (I consider the ganglian cyst on my finger!). Seemingly vulnerable and delicate, yet here she is, in eager clusters at the base of the plum tree, leafed and in bloom! In fact, she is the first to bloom in this yard and neighborhood, except for robust and rambunctious Dandelion. So her small sweet nature belies the fact that she is a herald of spring. One of the first to bloom despite the continued spurts of winter here.

Violet speaks of a sweet open nature and of boldness. She says: Don't be afraid to cluster around giants--it is safe here! I offer a balm to the spirit, vigor, and the gift of promise: of spring, of new growth, and warmth.

I am a wild heart! I am Violet!

From Herbalpedia - 2007 edition

Violet Soup

1 8-oz can of chicken and rice soup
1 cup violet blossoms
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Prepare the soup according to can directions. Bring to a simmer. Add the violets; simmer 1 minute. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with cinnamon. (A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook)

A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook, Patricia Telesco,
Llewellyn, 1994; ISBN: 1-56718-707-2

Violet Omelet

4 eggs
4 tsp milk
12 violet leaves
12 violet blossoms
1 tsp butter

Wash violet leaves and blossoms and crisp in refrigerator. Beat eggs with fork or whisk until light yellow. Add milk. Sprinkle with salt and add freshly ground pepper (about three turns of the grinder). Melt butter in skillet. Pour egg mixture in and, using spatula, cut around edges of pan and across egg mixture until top of mixture is frothy and bubbly. Meanwhile chop violet leaves and sprinkle on top of egg mixture. Turn omelet by folding over and cook further until desired degree of doneness. Serve on hot plate. Sprinkle or garnish with violet blossoms. (Cooking with Flowers)
Cooking with Flowers, Jenny Leggatt, Fawcett,
1987; ISBN 0-449-90252-8

Violet-Watercress Greens

6 cups violet greens
3 cups watercress
6 slices bacon
3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
cup onion, finely minced
Saute bacon until crisp. Crumble and set aside. Saute greens in cup bacon
drippings for 10 minutes. Remove vegetables to platter and top with bacon, eggs and onion. Serve immediately. (How to Prepare Common
Wild Foods)

Violet Mushroom Caps

Saute 24 medium-sized mushroom caps in butter and drain on paper toweling.
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cognac (optional)
2 tsp chopped chives
2 tsp chopped violets
Fill mushroom caps with above mixture and garnish each with a violet. You can also combine 1 teaspoon each cognac and lemon

juice and dip in a violet to use as a garnish on each stuffed mushroom cap. Serve chilled. (The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery)
The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery, Leona
Woodring Smith, Pelican; 1973; ISBN: 0-


Angie Goodloe LMT, Herbalist said...

this is so wonderful! Violets are one of the first to bloom around here, coming up around the same time as the chives. Thank you so much for posting, this will be great information for everyone (violet info is really hard to find!)
your blog is amazing!

Dubious said...

You inspired me to take out my ancient STALKING THE HEALTHFUL HERBS by Euell Gibbons, Jane! I'm a violet-lover, too, and many years ago made a violet jelly based on Gibbons' recipe:

1. Make an infusion: Fill any size glass jar with violet blossoms, cover with boiling water, and let infuse for 24 hours. Next day, open the jar and strain the blue infusion, discarding the spent violets.
2. To 2 cups of the infusion, add the juice of one lemon (but be prepared: that beautiful violet color will turn pinkish; I almost cried) and one package of pectin.
3. Bring to a boil, and then add 4 cups sugar.
4. Bring back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute, then pour into glasses or jars and seal.

Just the IDEA of violet jelly makes me happy still.

Jane said...

You both have inspired me to want to post more about Violet! Dubious, thank you so much for the Violet Jelly recipe. I'm going to have nurture a patch of violets in my new abode so I can adventure with these lovely recipes!