The backyard violets have been more than just gracing cakes at home this spring season. There's violet syrup in the fridge. And...now we have jam too! I'd never made - or even tasted - violet jam until last week. But all those pretty purple flowers (that Adelaide can't stop herself from picking) were calling out for something more. And well, there is that early-in-the-season canning/preserving bug that's calling out to me often, but there's so much time before berry season to go! So my eyes have started to wander to what might be around right now to make. Sweet violets!
All violet flowers are edible, but some are sweeter than others. There's some debate on whether what we have in our yard is actual sweet violet - Viola Odorata (what Mama thinks), or just regular 'wild violets' (what my boys think after consulting their favorite foraging books). Regardless of which kind they may be, we all do agree that they're quite tasty. (A little bit more about sweet violets here and their health benefits here.)
So the jam. I couldn't find a recipe that I liked at all. I really wanted to use honey, and just start with a little bit of flowers. So we kind of played around with the numbers and some other jam recipes I love, and came up with our own. It was yummy. Really, really yummy. And purple! And pretty! It's got a lot going for it in my book.
Trickier than coming up with a recipe for the jam was deciding what to serve it upon. We tried a whole lot of crackers and breads and scones in our search for the perfect match. (Days of eating baked goods topped with jam - such a tough job!) In the end, we decided that 'light and flaky' was best of all, so these Parmesan Cream Crackers were made, topped with a bit of cream cheese, and our violet jam.
So good. And a very, very sweet start to another season of jam, I do declare.
1 (packed) cup violet blossoms
1 cup water
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup honey
pectin (I used 1/3 of a Pomona's box)
Blend violets, 1/2 of the water and lemon juice. Heat remaining water and honey in a saucepan. When warm, add pectin and stir until mixed well. Add pectin/honey mix to blender. Blend again until smooth. Place in jars immediately to set. I froze the jars we didn't eat/share right away.