This vividly colored wild foraged violet jelly recipe is easy to make. It tastes light, sweet, with floral springtime notes. If fairies were real they’d eat violet jelly on their toast.
In the Midwest violets are one of the most plentiful edible flowers in the spring. My grandmother’s yard is full of these invasive wildflowers, but we don’t complain about that. Instead we pick them for all kinds of treats. Did you know that violets are actually good for you and contain A very high amount of vitamin C? Both the blooms and the leaves are edible!
Picking a Spot to Forage Violets
To make a violet jelly you first need to pick your violets. It’s very important that you choose an area to forage from that:
- Is not sprayed with any pesticides or chemicals
- Does not contain animal waste
- Isn’t muddy
- And isn’t too close to a busy street where it’s subjected to car exhaust
When picking violets for violet jelly you don’t need the stems, just the heads. The darker colored violets will make a more vibrant jelly, but any color of violet flower can be used. This recipe takes 3-4 cups of violet blossoms. I like taking a measuring cup with a handle out to pick the flowers as that takes out the guess work of whether I’ve picked enough or not!
Making Violet Tea
To prepare the violet blossoms for jelly remove as much stem as possible so you just have the flowers. The blossoms of violets have a nice subtle flavor, but the stems can add bitterness.
The next step of this process is to make violet tea. Add the flowers to a heat proof container and add four cups boiling water. Let this sit and steep for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.
Note : You might be surprised to see that your Violet tea is not violet. It’s blue, bright vivid blue. Don’t worry, when we add the lemon juice it will turn a brilliant purple.
Making the Wild Violet Jelly
Strain out the flowers pressing to make sure all of the liquid is removed. Next up we’ll add the lemon juice and the magic change from blue to purple occurs.
Why do we add lemon juice to violet jelly?
The added acid of lemon juice helps to contrast the sugar, but it also more importantly lowers the pH to make the jelly safe to can.
I might note that even if you didn’t add the lemon juice you wouldn’t get to keep the blue color in your jelly as the pectin itself has citric acid and would change the violet tea to pinkish purple on its own.
Add your purple violet tea to a large pan. Yes, a large pan. If you’ve never made jelly before you might look at it and think, nah, I don’t need a bigger pan. But once the pectin and the sugar get to boiling it will grow. You don’t want burnt sugar mess on your stove top!
Stir in the pectin and bring this mixture to a rolling boil over high heat. Next add all the sugar and bring it back to a boil. Let it boil hard for 2 to 2 and 1/2 minutes.
Why is there foam on my jelly?
You might notice some foam on the top of your jelly. Violets contain saponin which is a compound that makes soap foamy. If you eat too much of it it can upset your stomach. Skim off all of the foam from the top of your jelly before quickly and carefully ladling the hot jelly into sterilized jars leaving a quarter inch of headspace. Wipes the rims to remove any traces of the violet jelly and add clean washed and dried lids to the tops of the jars. Add rings to the jars and tighten them to fingertip tightness. If you are not planning to water bath can your jelly seal the jars and let the jelly set up. It can take anywhere from overnight to a few days for jelly to set up and gel.
Without canning your jelly it will last in the fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you’re planning to freeze your jelly put it in freezer jars.
Should you can your Violet Jelly?
It’s up to you whether you want to can your jelly but it will make it shelf stable for a much longer time so that you can enjoy it year-round. If you’re intimidated by home canning, check out this beginner’s guide to water-bath canning.
Instructions for Water Bath Canning your Violet Jelly:
Bring the water in your waterbath canner to a boil before you start making your jelly.
When the jelly is done cooking and has been ladled into jelly jars with rings and lids that are tightened to fingertip tightness, place the jars on a rack and the boiling water in the canner making sure they are covered by 1 to 2 in of water over the tops of the jars.
Cover the canner and process half pint jars for 10 minutes in boiling water.
Remove the canner from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Remove the jars with a jar lifter and allow to cool completely, 12 to 24 hours.
Test your jar seals by pressing lightly in the centers to make sure that it there is no budge. Any jars that didn’t sell correctly need to be stored in the fridge.
- 3-4 cups violet blossoms
- 4 cups boiling water
- ¼ cup bottled lemon juice
- 1 (1.75 ounce) box Sure Jell powdered pectin
- 4 ¼ cups sugar
- Place clean violet blossoms in a heat-proof container and pour 4 cups of boiling water over the flowers. Stir to combine and make sure all the blossoms are submerged. Cover and set aside. Allow to steep at least 1 hour, but up to 24 hours.
- Strain off the flowers by pouring the violet mixture through a fine wire mesh sieve. Press well with the back of a spoon to extract all the liquid. At this point, your violet tea will be blue.
- Measure out 3 3/4 cups violet tea and add to this 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice. This will add acidity to make your jelly safe to can, as well as add flavor.
- Add the violet tea with lemon juice to a large pan. Stir in the powdered pectin. Bring this to a rapid boil.
- Once the mixture is at a rapid boil, add the sugar to the pan stirring to combine.
- Continue boiling and stirring for 2 to 2 and a half minutes.
- Quickly and carefully ladle the hot jelly into sterilized jars leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Wipe the rims to remove any traces of jelly and add clean washed and dried lids. Add the bands and tighten until fingertip tight.
Why is there foam on my jelly?
You might notice some foam on the top of your jelly after it has cooked. Violets contain saponin which is a compound that makes soap foamy. If you eat too much of it it can upset your stomach. Skim off all of the foam from the top of your jelly and simply discard it before quickly and carefully ladling the hot jelly into sterilized jars
Water Bath Canning Instructions:
Bring the water in your water bath canner to a boil before you start making your jelly.
Place the jelly filled jars on a rack in the boiling water in the canner making sure they are covered by 1-2 inches of water over the tops.
Cover the canner and process ½ pint or 8 ounce jars for 10 minutes.
Remove from the canner from the heat and let sit 5 minutes.
Remove the jars with a jar lifter and allow to cool completely, 12-24 hours.
Test the jar seals by pressing lightly in the centers to make sure that it doesn’t budge. Any jars that didn’t seal correctly need to be stored in fridge.