Sunday, May 5, 2013

Violet Jelly

Tomato seedlings under the grow light.
I had big plans for today: rent a nail gun from Home Depot, finish the living and dining rooms, (or, you know, quasi-finish), maybe even get going again on the kitchen painting. I sent Alex to grab the nail gun while I made a quick batch of jelly to can and got the yogurt maker going. I was feeling very industrious, but we forgot one key thing.

Today is the Pittsburgh Marathon.

Alex had to drive 15 miles east just to find a place where he could cross Penn Avenue (the main street, located between us and the Home Depot) and even then, couldn't find any road on which he could go back west. Boo.

Still, this was a productive weekend all in all. Yesterday we moved, scrubbed down, disinfected, and reoriented the chicken coop. We transplanted all the tomato seedlings up into bigger pots. They are looking very healthy and happy. Yesterday I made and canned lemon curd. Then we attended the second annual "Food in Our Neighborhoods" event at Chatham. The students do a great job of putting it together, and there is always yummy grub to be had. One woman at the event was selling dandelion jelly and violet jelly, made from wildflowers on her farm. It was gorgeous and delicious, so we bought some at the heart-rending price of 10$ for 4 ounces (!!!!)
Wild violets soaking in the boiling water.
Aren't they gorgeous?
We have dandelions and violets all over the yard, so I got to thinking. How hard would this be to make some of our own.

The answer is, not very.
Blue violet infusion.

Now it's purple once the lemon juice
is added.
Finally it becomes pink with the sugar addition.
I picked 2 cups of violets in the time it took to get our kettle to boil water. You pour 2 cups boiling water over the violets, and let them steep for up to 24 hours. The water is a gorgeous blue color, which is pretty fun.

Then you just make jelly the usual way: lemon juice, sugar, pectin, and heat. The lemon juice changed the color to purple, and because I only have unrefined sugar, the color changed a little more to pink when I added the sweetener.

It's a really subtle flavor. I think it'd work better as a syrup so the violet is more concentrated. I also think squishing the violets more to get more oil out of the petals might work well. Dandelion is a more flavorful flower, so the jelly ends up tasting a lot like honey. We'll try that this week.

They don't look like much now, but it'll
be awesome when it's holding buckets of
potatoes in midsummer.
We also got most of the seed potatoes planted, and indeed, constructed new experimental stacking potato beds from old trim we removed from the living room. Pictures to come, once the vines pop out. Right now it's just a depressing pile of old tires and mud.

No comments: