Yesterday we went on a lovely and somewhat windy walk in the English countryside. (I tell you what – the cup of tea at the end of that walk was the BEST THING!) Anyway, along the walk we came across some teeny tiny wild violets in the cover of the hedgerows.
Wild violets are very small – you might even miss them if you’re not looking out for them – and tend to like wooded, shady areas or hedgerows. The leaves are small and rounded and the flowers are quite pansy-like. They can be yellow, white and pink, but usually they are a dark blue-purple colour. The leaves and flowers of wild violet are edible and apparently have a high vitamin A and C content.
I think the leaves and flowers would be a great addition to a springtime salad like this one especially with the lovely purple colour pop from the flowers. They also make a great lemonade – if you steep the flowers in hot water and leave them overnight the water will turn a deep blue colour. The colour then changes to a vibrant purple with the addition of lemon juice. You can also make a violet jelly for toast using the flowers, or a syrup which would add a great purple colour to drinks and cocktails.
Obviously as with any wild food it’s important to make sure you take no risks in identification and use a trusted guide. Definitely don’t confuse wild violets with African violets which are common houseplants – eating those is not going to end well. Be mindful of the laws where you are and keep in mind my Golden Rules of Foraging.
This blog is not intended as a foraging or identification guide. Always use a trusted guide when foraging and comply with local laws.