The best way to pick wild violets is sitting in the grass with a granddaughter on a sunny Sunday morning.
The best reason to pick wild violets is to make violet jelly.
And the best thing to do with violet jelly is to have a fairy tea party with lady finger sandwiches.
So far, I have pulled off the first two. But if I wait too long to post this, you will run out of time to pick your own wild violets.
On a recent Sunday morning, a friend posted pictures of her violet jelly, and I said to my granddaughter Emily, who had spent the night, “Let’s do this!” While her cousins frolicked around like woodland nymphs, Emily and I sat in the sunny yard picking violets.
And we talked. About this and that and nothing whatsoever.
Picking violets was easy. Violets were all around us, so we didn’t even have to move around much.
But we needed two cups of flowers. No stems. And violet flowers are pretty tiny. It takes a lot of flowers to fill a little two cup container. And then they start to pack down, so it seems like the container is never going to fill up. Eventually Emily got tired of picking, but fortunately did not get tired of sitting with me on the grass. After a while, we had two cups of violet blossoms.
The next step toward making jelly was to make a tea with the violets. I packed the flowers into a quart mason jar and filled the jar with boiling water. As the flowers steeped, the water turned a lovely blue.
Emily went home and the violets continued to steep in the fridge. It was Wednesday before I had time to continue with the jelly. By then the tea was a stunning purple.
I strained the tea.
Into a pot on the stove, I put the tea, the juice of one lemon, and a packet of powdered Sure-Jell. I let it boil a couple of minutes and then added four cups of sugar. After it all boiled again for a couple of minutes , I skimmed and stirred the jelly for about five more minutes. Then I poured the jelly into jars and water processed them for a good jar seal.
So I had this very beautiful pinky-purply-colored jelly, perfectly jelled, and no idea if it even tasted good!
Ah, but it does.
It tastes a little like flowers. It is a little lemony. It is hard to say exactly. Some say it tastes like spring. Personally, I think it tastes like a unicorn’s lollipop. It definitely wants to be served on a light spongy lady finger to a granddaughter.
I bought some lady fingers, but they were not spongy. They were crispy, the kind you want for making a trifle or tiramisu. I need the spongy kind, so I am now on a hunt for soft spongy lady fingers.
Once I have lady fingers, we will have a fairy tea party with unicorn jelly sandwiches and fairy tea in pretty cups on the porch. The cousins can all join in.
Or frolick outside like woodland nymphs.