The violet is a member of the genus viola and grows in abundance in the spring-time. There are several hundreds of different kinds, but the most common is the viola adorata which has a sweet taste and smell. This particular species is purple, but the violet can be found in colours ranging from white through to dark purple.

Crystallizing violets is the most com-mon method of preparing them for use in cookery, but herbalists recommend them fresh to flavour all sorts of foods such as salads, omelets and desserts.

One method of crystallizing violets is to bring 1 pound of sugar and 8 fluid ounces of water to the boil over moderate heat. Boil the syrup for 5 minutes. Remove the stalks from four small bunches of violets and drop the flowers into the syrup. Boil for 1 minute without stirring.

Remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the flowers from the pan and place them on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof or waxed paper. Using tweezers, separate the petals and arrange each flower back to its original shape. Set the baking sheet aside in a warm dry place for at least 24 hours or until the flowers are dry and hard. Store the flowers in an air-tight container until required.

For an alternative method of crystallizing violets, see the recipe for CRYSTALLIZED VIOLETS.

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