Sunday, May 16

Violets turning (into) Violet Jam!

Urban foraging is honestly, one of the most rewarding little hobbies. This past Saturday, Beth and I went on an urban foraging hike with Matt Flower from the Milwaukee Urban Ecology center (If you are from Milwaukee and haven't been to the UEC, drop what you are doing and head over there this instant! It is a wonderful, wonderful place). Our hike, though ultimately in search of violets, led us through Riverside Park, where we discovered many urban edibles. These include burdock, dandelion, catnip and wild grapes.

Matt made a point to emphasize the importance of accurate identification, when foraging in the wild. One bad identification could be very hazardous. Luckily for us, violets are very easy to identify. In this case, we were gathering purple violets.
After our wonderful hike, we returned to the UEC, and prepared violet jam. This recipe was provided by Matt, and is a simple yet delightful way to use these beautiful little flowers. It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare the whole recipe and it yields quite a bit of pretty purple jam.
Violet Jam
1 cup of violet flowers, packed
1 1/2 cups of water, divided into 3/4 cups and 3/4 cups
2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 package of pectin

1. In a blender, blend violet blossoms and 3/4 cups of water. After blended, add the lemon juice (note: the lemon juice changes the color of the violets, so pay attention for some color-changing fun!) Slowly add in the sugar and blend until it is a consistent paste.

2. In a small sauce pan combine the remaining 3/4 cup of water and the package of pectin. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for 1 minute (this is time sensitive, so watch the clock). After one minute, remove from heat and pour into blender, and blend for 1 minute. The jam will begin to set at this point, so be sure to blend for only a minute or your jam will be lumpy.

3. Pour into jelly jars and store in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or in the freezer for 3 months.
Happy eating.

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