Viroqua gardener Stephanie Ames shares her heirloom recipe for violet jelly.
Premiere date: Jun 29, 2005
Wisc Gardener Transcript:
Shelley: Violets-- Viola odorata, a sure sign of spring in Wisconsin. We're in Viroqua, Wisconsin, with Stephanie Ames to learn of her very old recipe using violets. Violets aren't a new part of your diet, are they?
Stephanie Ames: No, they're not. I've had them ever since my grandmother was around. She used to take a piece of bread and butter and put the violet flowers on it and give it to us when we had a cold.
Shelley: It's pretty, but what good is it?
Stephanie: It has vitamin C and vitamin A. It was almost a spring tonic? I bet it was beautiful to look at, too.
Stephanie: It was.
Shelley: But your grandmother wasn't the only one that invented this?
Stephanie: No, a lot of different countries that use violets in different ways. England used to sell vitamin paste in their pharmacies.
Shelley: Made from violet flowers. Because of the Vitamin C and Vitamin A content. You've discovered another recipe so you're continuing the tradition in a slightly different way.
Stephanie: I found a book called "Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery." In there, a lady had a recipe for violet jelly. And I loved the recipe. It's very simple, and it's the one I use.
Shelley: She got it from one of the English pharmacies. So, we're really continuing the tradition. I've been just dying to touch these. These are gorgeous.
Stephanie: You get different colors from different colored violets, all the way from white to the deep, deep purple which gives you this.
Shelley: So, the dark purple are these. These clear colors are from whiter violets. You said even a crummy growing season will give you different colors. But this beautiful one on the end here, the deep purple, is a typical color?
Stephanie: That's the typical color.
Shelley: I would put it on my window sill.
Stephanie: A lot of people do!
Shelley: It's also good for you. How does it taste?
Stephanie: I think it tastes great.
Shelley: You've got some here, look in that jar. That is so pretty. I can see this on a delicate piece of toast. Look at it on the cracker, it's just gorgeous. Is it hard to make?
Stephanie: Very easy to make, very easy. All it takes is two and a half cups of water a third of a cup of lemon juice, a box of Sure-Jell, three cups of sugar and a cup of your violet blossoms.
Shelley: You'll get different colors depending on the violets
Stephanie: You boil that all together and put it into sterilized jars. From there, just follow your standard canning procedures.
Shelley: It's good for you. It's gorgeous. Thank you, Stephanie.
Stephanie: You're welcome. Good, isn't it?
Shelley: It's beautiful!
Shelley: Be careful when harvesting violets from the wild. Make sure you're in an area that hasn't been sprayed with any chemicals.
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