Monday, February 7, 2011

February -- Flower -- Violet

The flower dedicated to the month of February, for birthdays is the Violet.

Quick facts on violets:

-Latin term Viola is where the word violet originates form

-typically they have asymmetrical flowers and heart shaped leaves

-shape of the petals can help define many species of violets

-the color of violets varies greatly

-there are @ 400 to 500 different species of violets

With 400 to 500 different species to choose from how does one decide? Look at where you live and then narrow your search parameters down to the species that will grow well in your region.

-they are native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere. With varieties also found in Astralasia, Hawaii and in South America in the Andes.

-they prefer moist and slightly shaded growing conditions

They do great indoors in a window above either the kitchen sink or in a bathroom.

The language of the violets when included in a nosegay, are one who has or will have faithfulness and modesty. Each color then adds its own additional twist of meaning, which is further affected by the other plants added to the nosegay bouquet. While faithfulness and modesty are the wide held meaning behind violets, due to the Victorian era. The violet was considered a symbol of fertility and love by the ancient Greeks. So much so that they use to create love potions out of the violets.

In history you will find that the ancient Greeks were cultivating violets, confirmed at 500 BC, but our thought to have been doing so earlier.

Ancient Greeks also believed that wearing a crown of violets would ward off dizzy spells and headaches.

Flowers of the violets are candied for used to decorate cakes, fruits, translucent jellies. They make a lovely garnish atop chilled soups and punches. While the flowers of violets are edible, they should not be taken internally in large doses.

Violets range in color from blue, white, purple and the occasional yellow. They typically flower between April and May. Making them a perfect gift for someone with a birthday in February, especially if they like to garden.

My grandmother use to make both Candied Violets and Violet syrup. I thought it would be cool to share the candied violet recipe for others to enjoy.

Candied Violets

*Harvest chemical free, unblemished violet blossoms

*Wash gently – this is tricky, what works well is fill a sink with barely under room temperature water gently drop the blossoms in and dunk. A small handled strainer, used to gently remove them (with as little water movement as possible.)

*Lay them out on a paper towel to dry.

* Once dry paint (use a fine brush) lightly with beaten egg whites

*Sprinkle with sugar

*Let dry. The drying process will take several days. Length of time is going to depend on where located, how warm you do or do not keep your house, where you set them to dry. Drying to quickly will ruin them, drying to slowly and they will mold. Do to the variance in dry time I recommend starting with a very small batch or a couple of small batches and try different locations until you find the perfect timing.

*Once dry store in an airtight jar. Preferably someplace dark and away from light, so they will keep indefinitely. (A cupboard you are not into daily and is temperament is perfect)

Ta Da, you have now made your very first candied violets!

So how did they turn out?    Do you have an old family recipe for violets stashed away that you would be willing to share?

No comments: