In the case of wild violets, one person's weed could be another's culinary delight. Wild violets, which are part of the viola family, occur naturally and can spread through flower beds rapidly. In addition to providing colour, these flowers have been consumed since the 14th Century. Both the bluish-purple flowers and the leaves of the wild violet -- V. odorata -- can be consumed. You can try it yourself by creating a wide variety of dishes.
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Things you need
Pick some wild violet plants, discarding the roots and stems. Wash the plants thoroughly. It is critical to ensure that you are indeed picking wild violets, and not just any purple flower.
Separate the flowers and leaves, the edible parts of the plant, from the stems.
Taste the leaves to determine their flavour profile. Some violets are very sweet, while others feature a more pea-flavoured taste. This step will help you decide what flavours and foods will be complimented by the addition of violets.
Add sweet violet flowers to cakes as an edible decoration. They can also be added in crystallised form, which is achieved when the flower is painted with a small amount of egg white, then sprinkled with sugar and left to dry.
Pour hot water over dried, sweet violet leaves and chamomile for a violet-flavoured tea.
Add the earthier-flavoured violet leaves to salads or mixed greens.
Tips and warnings
- Do not eat African violets, the common household plant. African violets are inedible.
- Only consume wild violets if you are absolutely certain of its identification. True wild violets are edible, but not all purple flowers are, even some with the word "violet" in them.
- Because you may have an unknown allergy to wild violets, eat a small portion first before attempting to consume them in mass quantity.
- Avoid wild violets that have been sprayed with gardening chemicals.
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