Thursday, May 2, 2013

About 4 years ago, we started going to a local apple orchard in the fall and picking several bushels of apples. The week following this trip would be filled with apple sauce making, apple pies, apple crisps, anything apple you can think of. In fact, for a few of those days we make a quick apple crisp and call it dinner. I am finding that each year, my dried apples, and jars of applesauce just starting to disappear at the time when apple picking should be planned. This rhythm, this cycle, is showing up with all sorts of things as we settle into another year at the farm.
Just a few weeks ago we used the last tiny bit of our Violet Syrup (something that is doled out as if it were a precious, exotic substance, rather than a jewel toned concoction from our backyard.) I knew instinctively that they should be out there somewhere, we just have to go on a hunt. They show up, usually, around my husbands birthday, with the coming of the dandelions, which bring their our deliciousness to our table in salads, soups and jelly. But as I went out, basket in hand, I found nothing, no violets. I remembered that last year it was a bit of a search to find them. They were everywhere in our rental house that we lived in before the move to the farm. So thick that it was a carpet of purple. Here, we have to journey into the field. I am also discovering that my plants show up just a tiny bit later than plants in town. My daffodils and tulips were a week behind. Thankfully, my violets were also simply being relaxed about their arrival. I did however, fall upon them quickly once they showed up. Picking a few from this group and a few from over there, so as to not take all the beauty, and snacks from my foraging children. I may try to transplant those itty plants into on of my sad, sad, flower beds that will grow nothing else. Until then, I will stretch this for as long as it will go, hoping that we can make it till next spring.

Violet Syrup:

1cup violets (rinse with water and be aware of where they were picked, if pesticides are sprayed or    
                       animals frequent the area)
1 cup Boiling water

Combine in a mason jar and allow to steep for 24 hours.

After 24 hours drain liquid off violets and discard violets.

Place this violet infusion and 2 cups of sugar, 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice into a small saucepan.

Bring to a low boil for 10 minutes.

Pour into clean Jar and seal. You are able to can this in a water bath like jams or jellies. I have had great success doing that in previous years. This year however, I just placed it straight into the fridge. It lasts a very long time, even in our big family. Enjoy!