The days have warmed. Can it really be here to stay? We’re still well over a month from the last frost date and six weeks from the opening of the first area farmers’ market but I admit to enjoying the sunshine and daydreaming about the coming bounty. The earth is greening early and my mouth is watering for what’s in store.
Here’s something I’m very much looking forward to. Violets are our state flower and tend to pop up in our yards and woodlands. But they are as edible as they are lovely. Typically seen sugared on desserts, I’m looking forward to trying them in a totally different form: their essence in vinegar.
Easy to make, interesting to taste, and lovely to look at, violet vinegar will grace my table this spring. To make your own, pick violets from your yard (no chemicals – sorry, you can’t use them if you spray) and fill a glass jar with them. Pour rice vinegar over the blooms to fill the jar and tightly close the lid. Give it a little shake to cover the violets with the vinegar and let set for a week or two. Very quickly the vinegar will turn an amazing lavender color (you can use any shade of violet but the deep purple ones will produce the best color). The longer you let it steep, the more intense the violet flavor will be. No worries about mold growth if you keep the blooms submerged (give the jar a shake if they float too high). The acidity of the vinegar will keep any undesirables at bay.
This is one vinegar you’ll want to use at the table to dress your salads. Its looks will stun as much as its flavor.