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Eating Violets

Wild Food Forager, Paul Tappenden, recommends a delicacy of foraged violets, with tips for how they can be prepared…

While I was walking around the neighborhood with our pups, I noticed some small patches of violets that were starting to flower. I’ve been seeing the leaves for a couple of weeks, but now that the snow has melted, the flowers are announcing their presence. Almost time to start gathering!

The leaves and flowers of Violets are both edible. They can be used in a number of culinary ways, either raw or cooked. The flowers make a colorful addition to salads or sprinkled over almost any dish before serving. I once chopped some up and added them to home made ice-cream.

A popular thing to do with the flowers is to candy them. For this, I will lightly whisk an egg white, stir in some confectioner’s sugar, then carefully dip each flower into the mixture, lying them each out on a parchment lined baking tray. I leave them in a very low oven or dehydrator until they crystallize, then use them to garnish and decorate cakes and deserts. It is very fiddly work and quite time consuming, but it makes a colorful presentation, and they taste great.

Another use I highly recommend is to gather a small jarful of violet flowers and to top it up with a mild vinegar. After a few days, the vinegar turns purple and takes on the flavor of the violets (as well as some of their nutritional goodness, which includes Vitamins A and C, and the anti-oxident and anti-inflammatory, Rutin.). Your friends will all wonder where you got such interesting and tasty vinegar.

I often use the leaves in salads, although I use them sparingly as they tend to be somewhat mucilaginous.  However, this property also makes them ideal for calming an upset stomach.

Pfeiffer Center Plant Sale!

The Pfeiffer Center’s Annual Plant Sale will take place this weekend:

Friday, May 19, 9:00am-5:00pm
Saturday, May 20, 9:00am-5:00pm
(Click here to see schedule of bonus activities offered on Saturday)
Sunday, May 21, 9:00am-3:00pm

This is an excellent opportunity to acquire beautiful, healthy, biodynamically raised bedding plants for your garden. For eating, you will find all your favorite vegetables and many varieties of tomatoes. For seasoning, a huge variety of annual and perennial herbs: everything from Anise Hyssop and Basil to Thyme and Summer Savory. And then there are the flowers! Perennials like Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Yarrow, and more; and annuals from Alyssum and Asters to Sunflowers and Zinnias.

Also available will be the Pfeiffer Center’s own-made teas and salves, Pfeiffer Center Garden Gold Biodynamic Compost, and more!

All proceeds from the plant sale benefit the programs of the Pfeiffer Center.

Click here for more details about the event and plant offerings!