How To Make Violet Syrup

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I love the deep purple hues of violets. These beautiful little flowers grow in abundance this time of year, so I took the opportunity to try out one of the recipes from Gibbons’ book, “Stalking the Healthful Herb.” According to Euell Gibbons, violets are “nature’s vitamin pill” containing 150mg of vitamin C per 100g of blossoms, three times the amount of that in oranges weight for weight.

I decided to make violet syrup, since it is healthful and a gourmet addition to desserts or cocktails.

So, I went out into my yard and picked about a cupful of violet blossoms. I did this in the early afternoon on a sunny day, a good time to harvest blossoms and herbs since the sun has dried off any moisture that might have collected on them overnight.

I placed the blossoms in a clean, dry canning jar.

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Then I covered them in an equal amount of boiling water (1 cup). You can see from the photo that the water begins to take on a beautiful light blue hue.

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Then, I let the mixture steep for 24 hours. I then strained out the violet blossoms (and put them in my compost canister, pictured behind the jar). What was left was this gorgeous jewel-toned blue liquid. Violet essence!

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I put the strained liquid into a sauce pan and added the juice of half a lemon, and 2 cups of sugar (the only sugar I had was vanilla sugar that I had made by placing a halved vanilla bean in a jar of sugar and letting it sit for two months — the color was a light brown, which may have affected the color of my syrup). The addition of the lemon juice caused a chemical reaction, turning the blue liquid into a pinkish-purpleish liquid. I brought this to a boil, and cooked it at a low boil for about 10 minutes.

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I then poured the syrup into a sterilized canning jar, and placed it in the refrigerator. The final result is below. I will try this recipe again with less lemon juice. I’m not sure how the taste will compare, but I’d like to preserve as much of the gorgeous blue color of the violet water as possible.

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According to Gibbons, ancient herbalists used violet syrup to cure epilepsy, pleurisy, jaundice, consumption, insomnia and more. He found that it had demulcent and expectorant properties, making it a tasty cough syrup. However, he recommends enjoying just for the pure pleasure of the taste, putting on pancakes, making drinks from it, or pouring some over shaved ice.

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46 thoughts on “How To Make Violet Syrup

  1. Pingback: Will I make it this Christmas?- Flower Food « harrysdesk

  2. The color change is a property of the violets. The syrup is also a pH detector. Turns pink with acids (lemon, vinegar) turns green with bases (baking soda).

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  3. Wonderful! I think I need to steal some violets from my neighbor yard who actually doesn’t care about it and plan to cut all the grass including these beautiful flowers soon :) Thank you!

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  11. Love violets so much! tried to make violet syrup as a kid… ruined some nice cookware. Definitely doubling this recipe in order to fill my jars though… Gonna want to put this on EVERYTHING. (Hoping it’ll possibly help as a natural remedy with my epilepsy too.)

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    • I love violets, too! They are a wonderful and very tasty wild herb. I was sad to see that mine have finished blooming. I wish you all the best in your violet syrup making adventures. I hope that your cookware survives :)

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      • Just finished the first batch of my set this morning and put it in the fridge to cool. The taste is phenomenal. However, I don’t think you can save the color. I left my canisters to soak for almost two days and got a DEEP purple color, but as soon as I added the lemon, it changed quickly. Anyways, hoping that when I get home from work, everything will be nice and cool and set for syrup tasting. ^_^ !

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  12. Pingback: meansoybean » Making a syrup of violets

  13. just used 1/3 cup of lemon and honey very dark amber color absolutely beautiful let blossoms sit 48 hours will post picture this weekend

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    • That sounds wonderful, Maureen. Our violet season this year was mercilessly short (they arrived early and were spent in a very short time), so I only got to make one batch of syrup. Next year, I am hoping to make some honey. I look forward to seeing your photos!

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  16. Looks great! If I don’t want to use sugar, what other sweetners do you suggest? In order to make it healthier, will it be good with stevia, for example?

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  18. My syrup is honey colored rather than the purple/blue that the water was. Did I use to much water for my blossoms? I did not add lemon juice in hopes it would stay blue but it’s pretty much that golden brown.
    I had two cups flowers and added equal parts water. Soaked for 24 hrs then heated with two cups honey.

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    • Hi Jennifer, It sounds as if you followed the recipe. It’s just that the natural color of the honey is more intense than the violets, so it probably dominated the color. That has happened to me when I used turbinado (raw) cane sugar, since it has a dark brown color. It may not look as pretty, but it still has the healthful properties!

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