Wild Violets and Their Hybrid Pansy Cousins

The wild violets Viola odorata (sweet violet) and Viola tricolor (Johnny Jump Up) have been used in herbal remedies since time began.  The ancient Greeks used violets to help heal a broken heart and added them to ‘love potions’, hence the name ‘Heartsease’.  Violet flowers and leaves are used by herbalists to treat bronchitis and lung problems as well as headaches.  The flowers can be made into a beautiful blue syrup traditionally used as a cough syrup for babies and children.  Its also delightful on pancakes and a teaspoon added to a glass of seltzer water make a slightly sweet and violet flavored water, especially good when you feel a headache coming on or need a ‘love potion’.  

 

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Pansy Syrup

Traditionally used as a cough syrup for babies and children.  Lovely on pancakes and as a drink with seltzer water to lift your spirits!

2 cups wild violets 

2 cups water

5 cups sugar

Pick wild violets and remove as much of the green parts as possible.  Pour 2 cups boiling water over the violets and let steep for 12 hours with a clean tea towel over top.  Strain the flowers out and put the now blue liquid in a sauce pan.  Add the sugar and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about then minutes until sugar is dissolved and liquid is thick and syrupy. Store in the refrigerator and sue within 2 weeks.

 

Crystallized Violets and Pansies

 A delicacy from the nineteenth century. Preserves flowers and makes them sweet and crunchy.   Use to decorate cakes, cupcakes, tarts and for afternoon tea. The large flowers of pansies are exceptionally beautiful and appear frosted with ice

20-30 fresh, perfect violets or pansies with stems attached

egg white

extra fine sugar

paint brush

Beat the egg white until frothy and smooth but not hard peaks.  Holding the flower by the stem, paint the egg white onto each flower, carefully covering every nook and cranny to seal.  Sprinkle the sugar onto the wet egg white painted flower to coat.  Let dry for several hours and store in a tin or plastic or freeze.  Eat within a month.

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Viola Sorbet XP Yellow Frost from Ball Horticultural Trials in the Gateway Technical College Greenhouse. Early blooming, free flowering, compact in both heat and cold. Best flowering in sun to partial sun. We are trialing this to see if it is perennial in Wisconsin. Beautiful!

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Viola Spring Matrix Midnight Glow from Ball Horticulture and PanAm Seed. Huge vibrant flowers glow in sun. Beautiful 'whiskering' on pansy face adds detail. Perennial

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