The Taste of Violets

Despite the momentary cold snap, violets are popping up everywhere now. Last year at this time it settled into me as a slow-burning mania, and I decided I just had to make violet syrup. Read my essay here on Full Grown People to find out what happened (hint: it's probably not what you think happened).

I did discover a few things about violets.

  • It takes baskets and baskets of violets to get anything close to enough for culinary applications with any kind of character.
  • Some violets have more flavor and aroma than others.
  • My front yard violets are bland, and whatever violets went into the violet extract my friend Nikki brought back from France and added to her violet buttercream are not bland.
  • Adding lemon zest to violet sugar to punch up its flavor will make the violet sugar turn a muted fuchsia instead. It's the chemical reaction between the anthocyanins in the violets and the acid in the lemon zest (lemon zest isn't that acidic, but it's acidic enough, apparently) that dulls the color.
  • My days of cooking with violets are probably finished. I think I got it out of my system. Picking violets is fun, but as far as edible rewards and foragables, I much prefer mushrooms, greens, and fruit.
That's the finished, faded violet sugar on the scones. It still tasted sweet.

That's the finished, faded violet sugar on the scones. It still tasted sweet.