Spring is upon us here in Ohio, and with the nicer weather we can get out to forage. Along with many other things, I love to forage wild violets so that I can make this Springtime Violet Jelly from Wild Foraged Violets. Who doesn’t love a good jelly to spread on their breakfast toast or muffin?
Foraging & Fitness
Foraging is searching for wild food resources. Learning to do this can not only be helpful to bumping up your food supply, but it helps get you outdoors and doing exercise. Much like our “hunter/gatherer” ancestors, the action of foraging not only kept them fed, but kept them working. There is a clear correlation between foraging and fitness, particularly in wild animals, that we as humans have ceased to utilize. Reminding your inner primate of its ability to forage will help combat the obesity epidemic that is so prevalent in today’s society.
Chemical & Pet Free Areas
The key to foraging good resources is to make sure that they come from an area untreated by chemicals and that is not continuously used by animals for defecation. In other words, if your yard is essentially your dog’s bathroom, please don’t eat anything from it. I had a good source of violets in my grandmother’s backyard for quite some time, but now my aunt has her puppy there on a regular basis so I can no longer forage in her yard. Luckily for me, I found a plentiful supply in one of our local cemeteries, which does not allow animals on the premises. I just go forage there.
Foraging In my Yard
I am lucky to have a phletora of patches of wild violets in our yard. The trick is to get out there and pick them before my Redneck goes out to mow. And that can be a tricky thing to accomplish.
My apologies to my Hippy. I blame it on my rearing, but do not consider it a bad thing. As a child (and ever since), my father has always taken great pride in the appearance of his home and property. I was taught at a very young age how to operate the lawn mower and eventually all sorts of lawn care equipment as a grew older. I guess I just adopted the same mentality and refuse to let our little spot of joy get out of whack.
—The Redenck (Todd)
Springtime Violet Jelly
Springtime Violet Jelly
- 2 to 3 cups loosely packed violet blooms
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 package of Sure-Jell pectin
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- Gather two to three cups of violet blossoms and pour 2 1/2 cups of boiling water over them.
- Allow infusing to continue until the flowers seem to have lost all their color.
- Add the lemon juice to this. (Watch the color change! It’s really neat. Let the kids watch too…. It’s really pretty fun for something so mundane.)
- Mix the pectin with the flower/lemon mixture, stir over high heat until it reaches a heavy boil.
- Boil for one minute then add the sugar all at once.
- Keep stirring, return to a boil for one minute.
- Remove from heat and quickly ladle into prepared jars.
- Process in a water bath for five minutes.
- Remove from water and let sit for 24 hours.
Get outside and enjoy the nice Spring weather. While you are at it, take a walk somewhere that may possibly give you access to some wild violets so that you can try this Springtime Violet Jelly for yourself.