How to Make Violet Cordial

It’s that wonderful time of the year when violets make their brief appearance, and my yard is filled with the beautiful little deep-purple flowers. A few years ago, I posted a tutorial on how to make violet syrup, and I thought it would be fun to revive that recipe with a twist. I made the same basic syrup, but added some vodka to the mixture to make a lovely violet cordial that can be sipped by itself or added to other beverages to make a light floral cocktail. The variety of violets I have in my yard are only slightly fragrant, so the cordial has a mild floral flavor. Different varieties will yield different tastes.

violetsyrup02I began by gathering 2 cups of violets, making sure to choose only those blooms that were open and free of bites and blemishes. When you are harvesting edible wild flowers, make sure that you are picking them from locations that are free from pesticide or other chemical applications.

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I placed the violets into a colander and rinsed them thoroughly.

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Then placed them in a Mason jar and covered them with 2 cups of boiling water. The water almost immediately began to turn a gorgeous sapphire blue! I let the violet infusion cool, then placed it in the refrigerator and let it steep for 24 hours.

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After 24 hours, I strained out the violet blossoms, squeezing them to get out all the gorgeous purple hue. I placed some in a bowl so that I could show you what a brilliant color it made.violetsyrup07

I placed the strained liquid into a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

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Then added 2 cups of organic cane sugar and let this mixture come to a boil.

violetsyrup11I then turned down the heat to medium and let it cook at a low boil for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

violetsyrup10I removed the syrup from the heat, then added the strained juice of half a lemon. The acid from the lemon made the syrup go from deep violet to a beautiful magenta color.violetsyrup09

I then mixed the syrup, 50/50, with organic vodka and bottled it in sterilized capped glass jars, which I bought at the Container Store.

violetsyrup12After letting it sit for 2 weeks, it was ready to decant. It is very sweet by itself, but makes a lovely addition to champagne or sparkling water. Enjoy!

Cool Glass Straws and Hot Simple Syrup!

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A couple of weeks ago, I struck up an Instagram friendship with the good folks over at fellow Green America certified sustainable business Glass Dharma, makers of the original glass straw. In talking to them, I mentioned that I would love a straw, so they sent me one!

It was beautiful and sturdy, and when I tested it out, I was struck by the fact that it doesn’t affect the taste of beverages the way plastic and paper straws do. It was also just fun to use! So the beautiful glass straw inspired me to try some new drink recipes.

I had recently bought a bottle of habanero lime syrup, and thought it would make an excellent sipping beverage. However, the habanero flavor was muted and tasted more like black pepper. So, I decided to try making my own.

In researching habanero simple syrup recipes, I came across Tipple Sheet’s habanero syrup recipe, which I adapted to make my own habanero lime drink.

Simple syrup ingredients:

  • 2 habanero peppers
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup water

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I found these gorgeous habanero peppers at my local hispanic market.

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Trim off the stem , and slice the peppers in half. I wanted to have the flavor and some of the heat, but not have it overwhelmingly hot, so I removed the seeds and the white membrane. If you want maximum heat, leave the seeds and membrane intact!

Many instructions I read recommended the use of rubber gloves in handling habaneros. I chose instead to just be careful not to touch the cut edges of the peppers. If you do this, please be careful. And don’t touch your eyes or your family members until you have thoroughly washed your hands after handling these hot peppers!

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In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of organic cane sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the mixture turns clear, add the habanero peppers.

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Allow the mixture to come to full boil, then turn the heat down and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes

Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool. Strain into a clean glass jar. The syrup will keep for about 2 weeks if kept refrigerated.

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To make the Habanero Lime Drink, add 1 teaspoon of the habanero simple syrup to 8oz of still water or sparkling water. Add the juice of one half lime and some sugar to taste. This makes a refreshing, yet spicy, drink. Enjoy!

Paper bouquets

By Outreach and Operations Associate, Lisa Seyfried

I’m planning a DIY wedding in a few months, and one of the crafts we decided on was to make all the flowers.  Instead of having real flowers that will surely wilt in the August heat, or pretending that our flowers were real when they were really fake, we decided to just scrap it all and announce it!

I found a whole slew of instructions and patterns on Pinterest, but I found this pattern to be the easiest, and the prettiest looking. And the great thing is that this pattern allows you to print out the flowers on any paper you’d like, in any size, cutting out the need to trace anything!

Printed patterns on colored cardstock

Printed patterns on colored cardstock

Cutting out all those petals takes a really long time.  I found it’s best to cut out a bunch of flowers at one time, so you can put them all together without having to stop and cut out more petals.

The instructions are really easy to follow – cut out the flowers, curl the edges, then glue onto a piece of wire about 12 inches long.  I’ve been using hot glue to glue them on.  I was afraid that the strings from the glue would get all over the bouquets, but it has been pretty easy to just get a drop on there and not have big clumps of glue all over.

The beginning of gluing the flower together.  You can see the scraps in the background!

The beginning of gluing the flower together. You can see the scraps in the background!

I really love the way these came out.  I think they are bright and sturdy and catch the light really well.  Against the bright colors of the women’s dresses, these flowers will really stand out.

I’ll be covering the “stems” with ribbon and a few beads to hide the edges.  I’m thinking about making the men some kind of pin on flower that is similar, but we’ll see if I can find a great pattern for that!

What I think I love most about these flowers is that they will last.  I’ve made a few out of recycled paper (mostly old grad school papers!) and they came out really lovely looking.  And they will stand out among the several bouquets that I’m sure people have from other weddings – at least I save them all!

The final bouquets!

The final bouquets!