Wild Violet Jelly & Strawberry Conserve

May 25, 2011

On a message board the other day I read about someone having made Wild Violet Jelly with violets that were growing in their front yard. I’ve wanted to try canning and making my own preserves for some time now, and the idea of using something I was growing wild intrigued me. I’m always weary of trying a new recipe if it is going to cost me a small fortune, just in case things don’t turn out well, so this seemed like a great one to test because it didn’t have a lot of expensive ingredients. It happened to be pouring down rain the day that I decided to make it, so I only managed to gather 2 packed cups of flowers instead of the four that the recipe I initially saw called for. It took me a few minutes to find a recipe that made a smaller batch and required fewer flowers. I found THIS recipe from Prairieland Herbs that sounded like it would work out nicely.

Violets

After gathering together all of the supplies that we would need, we started following the recipe. I was surprised at the deep teal-blue color that resulted from steeping the violets! I was expecting something a lot more on the purple side than what I got, which had a lot of green overtones. When you get to the lemon juice stage, hold on to your hats folks! The violet water turns a bright fuchsia color as a result of the acids in the lemon mixing together with whatever is in the violets! It was pretty neat to watch. This bright pink will be the color of your final product! The recipe called for clear lemon juice, which we didn’t have. All we had was the cloudy type, so we used that instead and hoped for the best. In the end, our jelly was clear, so I really don’t think it matters which type you use.

Color change

result

The violet jelly looked great and tasted very good. It has a light, sweet taste with a slight peppery hint to it, much like Choward’s Violet gum/candies. Since this was such a success, we decided to try our hand at something a little more traditional, Strawberry Jam. Only, we didn’t want to make just ANY strawberry jam, we wanted to make traditional English Strawberry Conserve. The Brits are sort of known for their strawberries and we love all things British, so we figured we would give it a try. I searched for a whole day; I must have seen hundreds of recipes, but I finally found the perfect one HERE at BBC GoodFood. What caught my eye was the butter, something none of the others had. I figured it had to be good!

Strawberries

I was right! This is the best strawberry jam I’ve ever had! We only ended up with 4 jars; I wish I would have made more. We plan to go strawberry picking this summer in New York, so maybe we will make some more then. I know my father wants to make some raspberry-currant jam over the holiday as well.

Strawberries

We used the small Kerr jars to store the preserves using the traditional boiling method to seal and sterilize the jars. I used round paper labels and a free downloadable PDF of beautiful vintage style labels in various colors by Cath Holden of Just Something I Made. I think the beautiful labels add the perfect finishing touch! We’ve given away a few jars to friends; I am even shipping one all the way to New Hampshire! I really hope that everyone enjoys their jelly! We had so much fun making these delicious conserves that we plan to try out many more recipes this summer and we would like to make some more violet jelly very soon before they are all gone from the backyard!

Cath Holden labels

Beautiful colors

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