Versatile Violets   4 comments

Violet leaves can be eaten fresh in salad; as a cooked green, as a soup thickener, or dried for tea or tincturing.  Violet flowers can be eaten fresh, candied, frozen in ice cubes, made into jam or dried for tea or tincturing.

These beauties were destined for a bottle of good vodka; to make violet extract/tincture.  I use the tincture to flavor drinks, cakes, cookies and muffins; as well as medicinally, as a tonic.  “Viola odorata  has long been used for coughs, skin conditions, rheumatism, urinary problems and as an anti-cancer herb” (1), making it ideal for me.  I squirt about 4mls tincture into a cup of tea, every day.  And, it’s yummy!  This year I’m looking forward to making violet jam with the recipe from Blanche Cybele Derby’s DVD “Edible plants: Wild + Tame” (Spring)”. (2) 

To make this tincture I combined 8 ounces of dried, crushed violet flowers and leaves, with 1 quart of 80 proof vodka; in a clean, sealable container. I kept the container covered (with an old sock) in a warm place, each day shaking it.  At the end of five weeks I strained the liquid, in a fine mesh strainer, through several layers of cheesecloth.  Then poured the tincture into a dark, sealable bottle and composted the dregs.

I like to hand process everything.  Certainly you can use mechanical means.  I won’t pretend to know what’s best.  I like to use my hands.  Yes it takes more time; a lot more time.  For me it’s a sacred meditation.  I get to know my allies (the plants) intimately.  And, the end result not only contains all the goodness of the plant, it also contains my love.

From PETERSON FIELD GUIDES Edible Wild Plants, Lee Allen Peterson:


Viola spp.

Familiar spring flowers, blue-violet (also yellow or white), 5-peteled, with lowest petal heavily veined and extending back into a spur, and lateral petals usually bearded.  Most violets are edible, but some yellow species may be mildly cathartic.” (4)

Therefore I like to stay away from the yellow violets!


Yesterday I ate a dozen Forsythia flowers; still with only one reaction, pleasure.  Today I will eat two dozen.  If all goes well, and it stops raining, tomorrow I’ll pick enough flowers to make syrup.


Thanx for stopping by.  See you next time.


(1) SHAKER Medicinal Herbs, Amy Bess Miller

Storey Books, 1988

(2)  Blanche Cybele Derby:

(3)  PETERSON FIELD GUIDES Edible Wild Plants, Lee Allen Peterson

Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977



4 responses to “Versatile Violets

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  1. I’m still learning from you, but I’m enhancing myself. I actually love reading all the things that is written in your blog.Maintain the stories coming. I loved it!

  2. I love Violets, and I’m in the process of developing natural perfumes which will include the Violet :). Like you, I enjoy making things or doing things by hand, even if it is harder, there is something meditative and communing when you are mindfully creating something :).

  3. Reblogged this on Forageporage's Blog.

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