Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What IS That in my Violet Jelly???

Today was the first day of my living off the land and "preserving" what I find.  I found a recipe, thanks to Tipper's post Blind Pig and The Acorn, Easy Recipe For Making Violet Jelly, which inspired me, considering the wild violets I was finding here and there as I walked around our mountain.

Now mind you, I have never preserved a thing, but I was more than excited to take the plunge into canning/preserving; after all, this was a simple recipe, and by George we are Living off the Land! I must admit, I am thrilled with my results.  Granted, I am one to add my own thing or two to a recipe, so while I thank you profusely Tipper, for your fantastic recipe, I had to add a couple of my own touches.  I know you all are wondering what those specs are in the jelly jars, please be patient...I promise to confess. 

But to begin the process, please refer to Blind Pig and The Acorn, Easy Recipe For Making Violet Jelly for the specifics.  The recipe itself is beautifully simple.  But let me tell you, this process was a bit of work, picking violets over the mountain is not an easy thing when you don't have a field of them, rather small growths here and there, and usually on rises off the side of the mountain!  But with Johny's help, we gathered enough for 2 cups of violet beauty!

Yesterday I soaked my violet flowers overnight...and covered them with a plate, don't they look lovely?

Then today...

I sanitized my jars...

I prepared my ingredients, which for the lemon, I used 1/2 a Myers lemon from our tree on the river, and squeezed, including all the juice and pulp, and also grated a little bit of lemon zest into it...I like pulp and the zing of zest!

When I drained the flowers, I marveled at the jeweled color of the violet juice...this is no advertisement for a particular brand of measuring cup, so just focus on the incredible color, this picture does not do the violet color justice!

I began the cooking process.  If you look closely you will see the right side of the pot is still purple while the left side where the lemon was added is turning pink, you can also see I left the pulp, love love love pulp...

Now while the sugar, gelatin and violet water began to cook, I got adventurous, and added some of the flowers that had soaked in the water overnight to create the jeweled violet water...I thought to myself , "why can't I include the flowers in the jelly, you can eat them, so seems logical to include them, it would be pretty", so I added a few hand selected robust water soaked blossoms to my rumbling boil...(this is my confession, the bug looking things are the result of this stage of my creative thought process)!

Now I know why there is a really really really good reason why people strain the juice, the end result is not so very pretty but looks kind of like bugs...but it is edible, so not worries!

So, the rest of the process ended up beautifully.  I did discover that I had extra cooked violet syrup-prepared-for-jelly, so while I initially thought I would quickly sterilize another jar, which I did, I changed my train of thought, an decided, "what the heck, try making violet candy!"  

So I boiled the remaining mixture again, let it cool briefly, then boiled it again, figuring I'd remove more of the moisture from the mixture...and the result was a sticky fluid I drizzled onto a plate to cool.  I am hoping this is something like gummy candy, though I know I did not put enough pectin in it for that.  But now I have this brilliant idea, to make gummy violet candy!
I know, this looks like blobs, but believe me, when I tasted it, it was sweet, and mild, and violety! 

I can't wait to taste the jelly tomorrow and let Tipper and all of you know what I think the flavor is like.  And frankly, today I do wonder if adding those few flowers added to the taste of the jelly...we will know tomorrow.  But today, the flavor, while still warm, was fabulous!

Have you ever made violet jelly and put the flowers in it?  I would love to know!


Christine said...

Hi Lise! Welcome to the blogging world. I found you over on Tipper's blog and decided to follow you too. Hope you'll drop over and visit my blog sometime. Always nice to have a new blog friend. Hugs! Oh, your violet jelly turned out so pretty!

Jensamom23 said...

I have never made it, but it s so lovely! I am here from Tipper's blog. What a great journey you are on!

Lise said...

Thank you Mamabug, for visiting and following! I am thoroughly enjoying this life:) Your blog is fabulous, I'm following you now too:) We tried the jelly this morning, mmm mmm good, so delish! I am going to comment on Blind Pig about it! Happy blogging!

Thank you so much Jensamom23, and for coming over from Tipper's blog! The violet is so easy to make, and delictable! I did include a few flowers, and you know what? Even though they look like bugs they taste just like the jelly but give a little texture. Haven't decided if I will keep the flower bugs the next time or not, but no harm done:)

Susie Swanson said...

Hi Lise, found you over at Blind Pig..I truly love your blog and will be following..welcome aboard.

NCmountainwoman said...

I popped over from Tipper's blog. So glad to find another NC blogger. Greetings from not far away. I look forward to reading your archives.

Lise said...

Thanks Susie and NCmountainwoman! I'm looking forward to each of your blogs:) You are right, life is better in the mountains!

WEErosieWEE said...

I know it's been awhile, but I just found you through The Garden of Eating. Anyways, your jelly looks spectacular and I'm wondering if anyone out there knows if I can use regular violets from my garden? I have the "weed" kind but I also have a couple that are more... modernized for gardens and one that looks sort of old and may be closer to wild. Any thoughts?

Also, for the flower idea (which is great, if you ask me), you might consider setting some fresh, but rinsed flowers in the fridge and then put them in the jars when/while pouring the jelly into them. They'll still get hot but maybe they'll preserve their shape a little better.

Happy living and I'm so jealous of your decision to move to the mountains. What an exciting blog!

Lise said...

Thank you WEErosieWEE! Next time I try violet jelly, I am going to try exactly what you suggest with the flowers, we shall see what happens. As for your question, I can't see why the recipe can't be applied to cultivated violets, but you may want to make sure there are no poisons associated with them, I'll bet the internet can answer your question better than I:)