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Friday, April 13, 2012

Jelly of Violets

           As I was finishing up my raking today, I uncovered sweet, shy violets blooming under a covering of wind blown winter leaves. There they were, looking up at me with their soft purple faces. The dark green leaves compliment them and show them off. Though they look so fragile, yet my rake and I had not damaged them at all. The sunshine gave them sparkle and the april breeze danced with them. I love violets. I like a huge patch, so I can lie down among them, in the warm spring sun, and shut my eyes, and dream of heaven. I have made Jelly of Violets for many years. My   mother in law and her friends would just swoon when I'd give them their own little jar. They all loved violets, too. Old fashioned, they would say, holding the jars to the light and shedding a few tears. They are all gone now, so it's time to pass on the torch.
             Of course you must get right down and dirty to find them. It helps to have a few little girls who are eager to help pick them. It doesn't really take that long to get enough. Bring them in the kitchen and gently wash them. You need three cups of violets, tightly packed. Bring three and one third cups of distilled water to a boil. It is best to use distilled to keep the original color, tap water may change it.  Pour the boiling water over the violets in the jar. Let them steep for twenty-four hours, gently shaking the jar several times. Don't bruise the blossoms, or your infusion will be cloudy. After your twenty-four hours, strain this through damp cheeesecloth. Do not squeeeze or press, just let it strain through naturally.
                                                              Jelly of Violets
                                              3 cups of violet infusion
                                               1 package of powdered pectin
                                                       4 cups sugar
                     You can add strained lemon juice ( for a more magenta color) 1/2 tsp. at a time, until it's the color you want, or a drop of blue food coloring ( if you want it more of a darker violet color), but I like it just how it is.
                     Measure your 3 cups of infusion into a 4 to 6 quart non-reactive pot. Add your powdered pectin, and coloring if you want to do that.
                      Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
                      Stir in the sugar. Continue to stir constantly and bring it to a full, rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard for one minute, stirring all the while.
                      Remove from heat. Stir, and skim off any foam.
                      Ladle into hot sterilized jam jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Seal with canning lids. Cool upright on a rack.
                        Makes 4 half pints.
                             This makes a nice gift, people feel really special if they are given one of these beautiful jars of jelly. Can't you taste the sweetness of spring, the essense of flowers? Can't you see the color of love? Can't you feel the pleasure of everything beautiful? Don't you marvel that the damp musky soil, emerging from ice and snow , the dry brown layer of leaf mold, can bring forth such richness of color, and scent, and flavor? I love violets!

2 comments:

  1. Sweet Annie - do have the deep purple scented Devon Violets? Grandma Elva's yard was heavenly with them.

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    Replies
    1. No, Pat, I don't. I would love to find some, tho!

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