Violets and the beginning of an artistic journey into natural color.

Last week my sister Carol who lives in Reading, Pa. posted pictures of some jelly and simple syrup she had made from violets she had foraged. I was intrigued by the idea of making the jelly so I asked her for the recipe. Although we are a few weeks behind PA in the season I knew we would soon have a lot of violets in the rock garden on the side of our driveway and 10 days later the violets didn’t disappoint! On Thursday I went out and picked 6 cups of flower heads.

Just picked flowers

The recipe she sent was fairly easy, you wash the blossoms and pour boiling water over them then set it aside for 4 hrs to cool to let the color come out…. basically making a “tea”. After it cools you strain the mash from the tea, heat it up again, then add the gelatin, sugar, and lemon to make the jelly.

Bowl of washed flowers

I got the water boiling and put some blossoms in a Mason jar and was really surprised to see how fast the color came out of the flowers and even more surprised to see the color itself. It didn’t look very violet to me! Turns out my tap water has some other minerals that made the “tea” have a greenish tone.

Violet tea made with my house water

It’s not that surprising since we rarely drink water from the faucet in our house, we had to put a water filtration system in to get the sulphur smell out. We go to a local spring every month and fill a dozen bottles of the water to use for drinking. I got some of the spring water boiled and made another batch. This time the color was the blue/ purple I was hoping for.

Violet tea made with spring water

I let the brew sit overnight and then drained the mash from it. As I looked and tasted this beautifully colored tea I wondered: would the violet jam taste like violets? I immediately called my sister again. Her answerc “I make violet jelly for the color and the syrup for the medicinal value”.

I was entranced by the color myself! But it got me thinking. Maybe this tea wasn’t destined to be jam after all, maybe it should be the start of my next art project.

To be continued………

4 thoughts on “Violets and the beginning of an artistic journey into natural color.

  1. Best ice cream I ever had was violet ice cream (actually gelato) made at Fennochio in Nice, France. Oh, please, make violet ice cream. It would restore my confidence in mankind.


  2. More about Violets.
    Violet Flower Benefits for Colds and the Flu
    Violet flower is an important addition to your medicine chest during the cold and flu season. A syrup of the flowers can soothe an irritated and hot throat. It’s also a powerful lymphagogue that can relieve congestion and swollen lymph glands. Cooling and mucilaginous, violet can be used for a dry cough and for ear infections.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.