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Beautiful Wild Violets

May 2nd, 2011

This time of year our lawn is flush with tiny purple blossoms from all the wild violets. They are quite beautiful, definitely a great reason to not spray!


Wild violets aren’t just a pretty face either, they’re quite healthy. Violets are loaded with vitamin C and all kinds of other goodness (read a great article about them here). You can eat the flowers, leaves and the tubers (although tubers should be eaten in moderation).

There are all kinds of things you can do with them, candy them, make jelly, tincture them, make syrup. We mostly pick them and add them to our salads. I’ll be making violet syrup this year as well (recipe and info on that tomorrow). I may also try to make a tincture to use in my ears. I have tinnitus on occasion and it’s supposed to be helpful for that, I’ll let you know if it works.

In addition to violets, we’ve been picking dandelions and garlic mustard blooms for our salads. Spring is truly a beautiful time, both in the garden and on my plate!

Do you have wild violets in your garden? Do you harvest any flowers to eat?

20 Comments to “Beautiful Wild Violets”
  1. pam on May 2, 2011 at 6:58 am

    I have these all over my yard, I didn’t know you could eat them!
    pam´s last post ..Asian Chicken Soup

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  2. Rhonda on May 2, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I don’t have any violets in my yard, unfortunately. I love them though. I used to pick big bunches of them as a kid.

    Funny story … Years ago I used to help a friend cater. We served a salad with violets in it one time and the guests we appalled that we had the nerve to serve “common weeds” :-) We’ve been laughing about that for years.

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  3. Brittany P. on May 2, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Yes and yes! Love wild violets and dandelions, also been munchin’ on some wild onions. Loving what mother nature offers us..minus the grocery store…for free…………YIPPEE!

    Reply to Brittany P.'s comment

  4. Diane on May 2, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Here in the Southeast our yard is full of violets every spring, a few weeks ago, now. In addition to the purple ones, there are white violets with purple throats. They’re beautiful!

    Reply to Diane's comment

  5. TreeHugginMomma on May 2, 2011 at 8:43 am

    My violets look different and I am wondering if they are in fact violets, although I am looking forward to my dandelion green salad this evening :)
    TreeHugginMomma´s last post ..Frugal Green Travel

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  6. Bri on May 2, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Just found your blog while doing a search on wild blackberries, and I love it! I’m a farmer/gardener in central Ohio and am always excited to find folks with the same interests that live nearby. We too have a lot of violets in our property and while I’ve known for years that they are edible, we’ve just had too much other stuff going on this year for me to think about them. Maybe today I’ll get out and picks some . . . heard they can make a good tea. :)

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  7. iris on May 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

    It turns out that American/midwestern violets don’t have the same perfume as French violets, thereby making them not so suitable for making syrups (http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/good-questions/is-it-possible-to-make-homemade-creme-de-violette-good-question-145667)

    They’re still supposed to be good candied, or thrown in a salad.
    iris´s last post ..This Happened- Turkey Underbelly

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    • Susy on May 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      It depends on what you want to do with the violets. I’m making my syrup for medicinal purposes not for fragrance. There is a specific type of violet used for fragrance. However, these wild violets are actually quite fragrant when you have a jar of them in the kitchen. You don’t notice the smell outside though.

      Most violets contain the cyclotides, which is the beneficial property you want for teas, syrups & eating. I’m making my syrup to use as a cough syrup and as a sweetener for teas.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. KimH on May 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    What a beautiful plate of food you have there.. Makes me want to run right out & pick some dandlions, greens and violets.. :D
    Im not familiar with the garlic mustard blooms.. what are they? Also, are the heart shaped leaves in your photo lemonbalm or another “weed”?

    Do you have one or two most favorite edible weed books you could recommend? Many many years ago when I lived in the country in Texas I could identify most common “weeds” there but Ohios are often much different..I was hoping you could help me. Thanks!

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • Susy on May 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      I’ll have to take some photos of the garlic mustard to help everyone identify it. I usually use the internet as my resource as I haven’t found a good edible weed book yet, at least for Ohio. I do make sure I have many good sources that match before positively identifying a weed I’m going to eat. I find that people are the best resource, especially the old timers.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • KimH on May 2, 2011 at 5:39 pm

        Thanks for your reply!! I agree that old timers are the best resource, but unfortunately I dont know any around here, That is how I got to love learning about & using natures treasures for both medicinal and edible uses.
        I was taking my grandmother on a drive of old home-places and she pointed at a “weed” covered field and told me that she didnt know what that flower/weed was but that when she was a little girl, her mother used to make a tea from it to reduce fever.. I took a botany class, learned about plant identification, and found the local folks in the know and new friends..
        The weed was yarrow.. and a love affair with medicinal herbs was started.. :D

        to KimH's comment

      • Robin on April 24, 2013 at 11:28 am

        Found your site through Pinterest. I to live in Ohio. The best book I have ever found on wild plants that are edible and have other uses was published by Readers Digest. I lost my copy in the flood of 98 and can’t remember the name of it now. It contained tons of local plants. If anyone knows the name of this book or how I could find out, I would love to know. Thanks.

        to Robin's comment

  9. goatpod2 on May 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    We have lots of wild violets here but we don’t harvest them to eat since we live on a farm!

    Amy

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  10. Angela on May 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I’m so curious to see your recipe on violet syrup and please do report on the tincture, if it works. I sometimes have tinnitis too and am very interested to learn about a natural way to treat it. Your pictures are beautiful, by the way.
    Angela´s last post ..Sowing Thoughts Today- 5-2-11

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  11. donna rae on May 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    My woodland garden is filled with these lovelies! We’ve pulled them up in the past, but now they are so sweet that I leave them. I had NO idea they were edible and can’t wait to hear more about your violet syrup!!! Thanks for the inspiring post!
    donna rae´s last post ..Grateful

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  12. Terry on May 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    I have been collecting violets too! I candied some and I have some drying that I will use for tea. This is the first year I have actually done anything with violets. I even ate a few while I was out there just to see what they taste like. :P
    Terry´s last post ..So Happy Together

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  13. Sincerely, Emily on May 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Your wild violets are beautiful. Without rain here we have not have many wild flowers blooming. I don’t remember seeing wild violets when it did rain. I know we had them up in the Midwest. I am looking forward to reading about the syrups & tinctures you make. Emily
    Sincerely, Emily´s last post ..Some things are just bigger in Texas

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  14. sallymander on May 2, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I’ve had great success in letting them fill in around our daffodils, roses, mums and other seasonal plants. They make a great show of purples in the spring and early summer and then a beautiful green “mulch” in the summer and fall. Added advantage is once they are established, other weeds will not grow in our flower beds, but they won’t choke out the flowers that belong and we don’t have to add bark mulch every year :)

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  15. mollyann on May 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    we also eat violets. we make syrup, like you, and jelly-lovely purple color! As to wild flowers that we eat spring glory, apple blossoms and yellow mustard.

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  16. Lucy La Hurreau on May 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I have taught my children to “graze” the backyard. With a large garden as well, the boys have fennel, tomatoes, wild violet, plantain, dandelion, green peppers, “nasty sturtiums” and more….not just my two, but the whole neighborhood eat out of Aunt Lucy’s woods!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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