Preserving comes in all manners. I wonder how many people realize this truth. While canning jams, making pickles, and putting up jars of tomatoes are all favorite spring and summer rituals for me, the simple, and easy task, of drying herbs is a very approachable way to preserve if you’re weary of the canning process. That’s where this homemade violet tea comes into play.
Violets are a great source of Vitamin C, and while the flowers making for stunning candied treats to decorate cakes, and produce a beautifully hued syrup, the leaves are also edible. This last bit if new-to-me information, after doing some research recently, so when I went about harvesting the last of the violets to make some syrup before I let my neighbor mow the lawn, I made sure to collect some of the leaves, too.
Take care, as previously mentioned, when harvesting violets. African violets are not edible. I’ve read the yellow ones can cause gastrointestinal issues, but have no experience with them. I’ve only used the wild purple and white violets that grow on my front and back lawns. When harvesting, obviously also be mindful of where you collect them. I avoid the areas I know deer frequent in the way back part of my yard.
Once you’ve harvested your violets, and lightly misted them to rinse clean, the next step is drying them. I spread them on a parchment lined tray, and dry them out in a low 200ºF (93ºC) oven until they’re completely dried out. Depending on how full the tray is, this takes anywhere from 1 to 3 hours (the more violets you have, the longer I’ve found it takes). Keep a careful eye towards the end, as they quickly go from perfectly dried to burnt once all their moisture has evaporated.
You can steep the violets on their own with boiling water for a delicately flavored tea. A good ratio is 1 teaspoon of dried flowers and leaves to 6 ounces (177 ml) boiling water. I prefer to make infusions with a combination of dried herbs from my garden, such as mint, violet, and lemon verbena. Fennel seeds add a subtle anise note to the tea, and also aid in digestion. A wonderful way to end a meal, or wind down after a busy day.
Nine Years Ago: Zucchini Muffins, Easy Cheesy Crackers (think homemade Cheez-Its!)
Eight Years Ago: Quick & Easy Risotto, Lemon Poppy Olive Oil Muffins, Racines Chocolate Cake, 20-Minute Marinara Sauce
Seven Years Ago: Traditional Cream Scones, Homemade Whole Grain Mustard, Cheddar Dill Butter
Six Years Ago: Roasted Rhubarb Jam, Parallel Lives
Five Years Ago: Why We Cook (video), The Gift of Nothing
Four Years Ago: 18 Hours in Philly, When I’m Gone (eggs in purgatory)
Three Years Ago: Easy, Homemade Granola Bars, Shredded Cabbage, Apple & Sesame Salad
Two Years Ago: Sparkling Skinny Margarita, Crispy Potato Straws, Sesame Seed Brittle & Strawberry Oatmeal
One Year Ago: Apple Strawberry Cardamom Pie, Sheet Pan Fried Rice, Cherry Berry Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies