2.18.2009

Edible Flowers: Violets and Dandelions

Spring is right around the corner, and with it dreams of fresh, good eats straight from the garden. Two of the first flowers to appear in my yard (and lawn, much to my neighbor's dismay and my delight!) are Dandelions and Violets. Both are edible, and very good for you.

Violets are packed with vitamins A and C -- in fact, ounce per ounce violets have more vitamin C than oranges. The flowers have been prized for centuries for candies and jellies, and can also be used in salads. The tender leaves, too are very good in salads. Dandelion is a superb liver cleanser and diuretic (the french name for them is "pissenlit", pronounced "peace-on-lee", which literally means bedpisser). Every part of the dandelion is edible -- you can use the root for teas, coffees, flours and tinctures, the young greens are great in salad and the elder greens after the flowers come out are good in soups or cooked like spinach. The flowers can be made whole into tasty fritters, or made into wine or jam. The wine, is an old family favorite, in fact my grandmother says my grandfather liked it a bit too much, so she stopped making it. Poor grandpa... This spring, I plan to make Dandelion and Violet jam, as part of my canning mission.


*Dandelion Jam Recipe*

2 cups dandelion petals
juice and zest of one lemon
2 cups boiling water
3 cups sugar
1/2 packet of powdered pectin
Pick the dandelion petals from the flower tops, avoiding the bitter green bits. Pour boiling water over the petals and lemon zest, and steep for 20 minutes. Many recipes call for you to strain the dandelion out to make a clear jelly, but I prefer to keep the beautiful petals in the mix. Add the lemon juice and sugar, return the infused mixture to a boil, then add the pectin and boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Take the pot off the heat, pour into canning jars and process via water bath for 10 minutes.



*Violet Preserves*

2 cups violet petals
3 cups sugar
2.5 cups water
2 teaspoons lemon juice (preserves the violet color)
1/2 packet of powdered pectin
Pour boiling water over the petals and steep for 20 minutes. Many recipes call for you to strain the violets out to make a clear jelly, but as with the dandelions, I like to keep the petals in. Add the lemon juice and sugar, return the infused mixture to a boil, then add the pectin and stir it all the time and cook it for about 20 minutes on the low heat or cook until thick. Take the pot off the heat, pour into warm canning jars and process via water bath for 10 minutes.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

How have I missed your blog? It's wonderful! Thank you for commenting on my blog so that I could find you.

Healing Green said...

Thanks Sarah, I love your blog too! And you're my first comment -- woo hoo, what fun! I've only been blogging a couple of weeks, but I find it very therepeutic.