Within the space of a mere two days or so, the trees have suddenly exploded with fresh buds, green leaves unfurling right before your eyes. As if waiting for the month of May, it finally feels as though we’ve turned the corner, and we can at last put the bone-chilling torture of winter behind us. Fresh produce is arriving at the markets once more, making every trip a joyful reunion with old friends. Each day brings something new to get excited about, be it the changing of a restaurant’s menu to reflect the season, or the delight of taking a stroll in the fading sunlight at 7:30 pm, without needing to bundle up. Just yesterday, as the coffee began percolating and I bumbled about with sleep still in my eyes, I looked out the kitchen window and discovered something absolutely wonderful out in the yard; Violets.
Tiny little flowers in varying hues of purple, blue, and white, they speckled the lawn so thoroughly that it appeared as if confetti had been strewn about after a party. You could scarcely take a step without the danger of squashing a handful… But this abundance is nothing to take advantage of. Blink once, and every last little blossom will vanish, as if they never existed to begin with. With a window of availability spanning barely a week, it’s no wonder that these edible flowers are so highly prized, not to mention expensive, just about any time of the year.
Bare feet racing across the damp, dew-covered grass, I quickly began gathering flowers, plucking as many as I could carry. No way would these violet beauties pass me by this time! But what to do with them, besides just garnish a plate?
Well, how about making violet extract, for starters? Building upon the same idea as making vanilla extract, this is an experiment in progress. Filling a few jars with washed (and 100% pesticide-free!) violets and topping them off with vodka, only time will tell if this method works for more than just vanilla beans. Here’s hoping that in 1 – 3 weeks, this rare flower essence will make a cameo in some fantastic dessert! Of course, I’ll keep you posted on the results, but I didn’t want to wait until all the violets were gone before sharing. If you happen to have these lovely little blossoms in your yard, get out there and start picking, while you still can!