Spring has finally arrived and I find myself coming alive right along with it. The trees start to become green and a few spring showers come rolling in. Then flowers, all the different flowers popping up from the ground and making the world more colorful. Did you know you that some of those flowers are edible? Wild violets are starting to appear and I am collecting them to make all sorts of things. What do you do with edible flowers like violets? Make your everyday more magical of course!
The year I found out about violets was the year I was a little behind with spring clearing on the mountain. Everything seemed to get green overnight and I did not have the chance to pull out the lawnmower and mow the hill that was our front yard. Thankfully the hundreds of little wild violets had a chance to make themselves known. The whole grassy hill was painted purple with hundreds of small blooms. After some research, I knew what they were, what I could do with them and got to planning. I gathered a couple and left the rest for the bees!
Because violets are edible you can toss them in a salad, coat them in sugar or sprinkle them on cookies or cake. For a good week that is all that Emma and I did (the little 5-year old I nanny). We collected flowers, candied them and put them on everything we ate. She thought it was the most magical thing, something that fairies do.
DISCLAIMER: Before collecting your violets or edible flower be aware of where you are collecting them from. We don’t use any sprays, pesticides or poisons on our mountain so I was safe to collect them. Never ever never ever use flowers bought from a store, you do not know what they spray on these plants and they could be toxic. Be sure that you are able to identity the flower exactly. These violets are NOT the same as african violets, those will make you very sick!
Foraging for the violets:
When you know it is safe to collect your flowers, grab a glass jar and be off picking! If you are planting, make sure your seeds are coming from a safe source. The best time to pick is in the morning when the sun isn’t too hot.
Wild violets tend to be found in early spring growing in clusters and their green leaves are heart-shaped. If you are not sure, better to be safe than sorry and don’t chance it. If you can positively identify the plant, collect away! I only had a few flowers the first day, so I put the jar in the refrigerator to keep the blooms alive until I could collect enough of them. When you are ready, make sure to rinse them off in the sink with cold water just to get any little bug friends off.
What I like to do with edible flowers:
Bake a white cake and use the flowers on top. They turn any plain cake into a colorful sight. Make sure you wash the flowers in cold water and dry on a paper towel before using them on your cake.
Sugar them! You can coat the flowers with an egg white using paintbrush and sprinkle fine sugar on top. Store them in the fridge and use them for decorating.
Toss them in your salad. As someone who is not the biggest fan of green salad, I would eat any salad that had bright pretty flowers in it. You can even make a vinaigrette and make yourself a whole violet salad.
Make fairy bread for an afternoon snack. Take some white bread, butter the top and press the flowers in for a fairy-tastic snack. I told Emma I would put this in here because it is her favorite.
Press them on cookies. I press the sugar flowers down into sugar cookies while the dough is still warm and soft. Sometimes I’ll bake shortbread and bake the flowers in the dough itself. They are always so loved wherever I bring them!
Now you might be wondering….what does this have to do with photography? This might seem small and not related to the creative fairytale images that I do but believe me it is. I try to make every day something magical, doing little things like this keeps that spirit in me alive. It inspires me to live magically and connect back with nature.
I hope you have a little magical flower adventure yourself!