Daily Archives: May 17, 2009

Savoring Violets {la partie une

The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily

do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm.

 If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose,

spring would lose its loveliness.

                         ~Therese of Lisieux

 

violets underfoot

It is a spectacular morning at Rose Cottage…hundreds and hundreds of sweet little violets have burst into bloom in the northeast corner near the emerging lady fern. It is as if the violets have put on their very finest for the spring dance!

 

Field of Freckles1

 

Especially breathtaking are the lovely “Freckles” violet. Just look at the soft lavender freckles over their little faces. I want to gather them all and arrange them in tiny vases throughout Rose Cottage. Alas, they are too delicate to last very long once picked–I simply enjoy them growing with wild abandon under the spruce trees, amongst the fern,  beneath the bridal wreath and tucked between the flagstone. Some call them weeds–I prefer sweet violets. Often, the simplier things in life–like enjoying a small, obscure woodland flower–can refresh our soul and change how the world looks. Sometimes, it is all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? 

 

Field of Freckles and Heidi

 

There are so many violets it is impossible to not crush them underfoot–but they are forgiving. I bend down for a closer look and inhale their delicate fragrance.

 Freckles close 4

 

Even the common violet is so beautiful in the early morning sunlight, and the soft fragrance fills the cool morning air.

 

Violet Common

 

gathering violets  

Each year, I plan on making violet jelly, but have never carried out the age-old idea of preserving the little delicate blossoms. Today is different–it is a perfect morning in May for gathering violets for the jelly. The dew is evaporated and the petals are fully opened. Time to use the sweet, simple gift offered so generously this spring. But first, I catch a glimpse of the red violets–not wanting to be outdone by Freckles.

 

Red Violet

 

I find the old, shallow wooden trug in the garden house next to the cottage garden. The shallowness of the basket makes it perfect for gathering the tender purple blossoms. In less than an hour, a generous amount of the sweet violets are gathered in the English trug. A few Freckles have slipped in the basket, too.

 

violets and garden trug

 

Next, the stems are removed from the blossoms. Stems may cause the infusion to be bitter.

 

Violets in frog close2

 

The wind blowing from the southwest is challenging, and a few blue violets are lost to the occasional surprise wind gust. Unexpected “wind gusts” can make our lives difficult, too-especially when we least expect it. But, I persist and keep on with the project. This year, I am going to make jelly!

 

glass basket and violets

 

making a tisane {steeping the blossoms

Though, not technically a tisane, the next step is to steep the blossoms to make an infusion. Four cups of loosely packed violet blossoms fill a quart canning jar.

 

violets and quart jar

 

Then, boiling water from the tea kettle is poured over the violets–about three cups of water. Look how quickly the infusion changes into a lovely “Monet-esque” piece of art–“priceless!” Within a few magical seconds, the tisane turns into a dark turquoise. Who would have thought the simple violet could hold such beauty and create such surprising “magic?” Beauty shows up when I least expect it.

 

Monet in a Jar

 

The quart jar is covered with a lid and stashed away in the refrigerator for 24 hours to draw out all the lovely sweetness and color of the violets.

 

Tomorrow, the jelly making will continue…

 

Would you like an espresso or a little cup of tea while we chat about your morning? The tea or coffee is waiting for you. We can sit next to the violets if you would like…

 

demitasse and violet

 

savoring violets (part II) –more about using these delicate culinary flowers in jelly tomorrow…

 If you are thinking more about creating beauty in your life, be sure to stop by  The Inspired Room .

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