I was surfing some blogs the other day and I read about someone having made Wild Violet Jelly with violets that were growing in their front yard. I’ve been wanting to try canning and making my own preserves for some time now, and the idea of using something I had growing wild intrigued me. I’m always weary of trying a new recipe if it is going to cost me a small fortune, just in case things don’t turn out well, so this seemed like a great idea. It happened to be pouring down rain the day that I decided to go for it, so I only managed to gather 2 packed cups of flowers instead of the four that the recipe I initially saw called for. I set out to find a recipe that made a smaller batch and required fewer flowers. I found THIS recipe from Prairieland Herbs. Images can be enlarged by clicking on them.
After gathering together all of the supplies we would need, we started following the recipe.
I was surprised at the deep teal-blue color that resulted from steeping the violets! I was expecting something a lot more on the purple side than what I got, which had a lot of green overtones. When you get to the lemon juice stage, hold on to your hats folks! The violet water turns a bright magenta as a result of the acids in the lemon mixing together with whatever is in the violets! It was pretty neat to watch. This will be the color of your final product!
The recipe called for clear lemon juice, which we didn’t have. All we had was the cloudy type so we used that instead and hoped for the best. In the end our jelly was clear, so I really don’t think it matters which type you use.
The violet jelly looked great and tasted very good. It has a light, sweet taste with a slight peppery hint to it, much like Choward’s Violet gum/candies. Since this type was such a success, we decided to try our hand at something a little more traditional, Strawberry Jam. Only, we didn’t want to make just ANY strawberry jam, we wanted to make traditional English strawberry conserve. The Brits are sort of known for their strawberries and we love all things British, so we figured we would give it a try. I searched for a whole day; I must have seen hundreds of recipes, but I finally found the perfect one HERE at BBC GoodFood. What caught my eye was the butter, something none of the others had. I figured it had to be good!
I was right! This is the best strawberry jam I’ve ever had! We only ended up with 4 jars of it, I wish I would have made more. We plan to go strawberry picking this summer in NY so maybe we will make some more then. I know my father wants to make some raspberry-currant jam over the holiday as well.
We used the small Kerr (of course!) jars to store the preserves using the traditional boiling method to seal and sterilize the jars. I used round paper label and a free downloadable PDF of beautiful vintage style labels in various colors by Cath Holden at Just Something I Made. I think the beautiful labels adds the perfect finishing touch! We’ve given away a few jars to friends, I am even shipping one all the way to New Hampshire! I hope everyone enjoys their jelly! We had so much fun making these delicious conserves that we plan to try out many more recipes this summer and we would like to make some more violet Jam very soon before they are all gone from the backyard!