Last week, our daughter, Grace, ventured into the backyard to harvest some wild violets. She’s a senior in high school, so Covid-19 and the lockdown has had a significant impact on her. Therefore, we’ve been encouraging her, and her brother, to spend time outside each day along with some creative time. This was her answer! Wild violets are viewed by many as a weedy scourge upon their lawn, but we just let them go. Our lawn is large and it would be detrimental to our neighboring creeks to try to chemically alter it. Violet flowers and leaves are both edible but should never be confused with the houseplant, The African Violet. The African Violet is not edible!
It’s important to remember that the wild violets picked from your yard may not be as big and perfect as violets you pick up at the nursery so be prepared for imperfect flowers. Personally, I think that adds to the charm.
Grace picked a couple of cups of wild violets in order to sugar some and also to make violet syrup. After she picked the stems off of each flower she got down to the business of sugaring them.
You will need one cup of ultrafine sugar and one egg white. We didn’t have ultrafine sugar so she simply pulsed it in the food processor a few times to get it finer. With a small, clean paintbrush (we have one dedicated to kitchen use) she then brushed each petal, front and back, with the egg white. Holding the flower over the sugar bowl she then sprinkled the sugar over the petals to coat, shaking off the excess.
The sugared petals must then be laid out on a piece of parchment paper to completely dry, ours took about 24 hours. Afterwards, they can be jarred to use at a later date, up to a year!
The sugared violets look beautiful atop cakes, scones and anything else you can think of. We put a view atop a lemon cake that we made. It may not be the most beautiful cake ever but it was a sweet touch.