We have been inundated with relentless waves of rain for weeks now. It is keeping farmers from their fields and gardeners from turning and planting their patches. The one thing that remains unaffected by the downpours are the dandelions and dog violets (Viola adunca) EVERYWHERE you look in Bishop Hill. I have my favorite patches for picking and have often thought of BH as the violet capital of the world! More rain is on the way so, instead of fretting, grab a bucket and umbrella and pick a pile of violet blooms and make some jelly – wherever you are!
2 Heaping cups of fresh wild violet flowers
(For a deeper color and intense flavor,
pick and use newly opened flowers.)
2 Cups of boiling water
¼ Cup well-strained fresh lemon juice
4 Cups granulated sugar
3 Ounces liquid pectin (Certo pouch)
Wash and drain flower heads on a paper towel or cloth. Next, place them in heat-proof glass or non-reactive bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over blossoms. Cover and let steep for three hours. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the clear, bluish liquid infusion. This liquid can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours if not used immediately.
The drained blue liquid will turn a deep purple after adding the lemon juice.
Before mixing the jelly, place the jars (and lids) to be filled on rack in a stockpot deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Keep the jars in the hot water until ready to fill.
To make the jelly, add lemon juice, sugar, and the violet infusion to a two-quart non-reactive or stainless-steel pot. Bring the liquid to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil for two more minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface.
Ladle jelly into warm jars to within 1/8 inch from the top; clean rim and threads of the jar and place a flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Screw the band until tight and invert the jar on tea towel for 10 minutes. Jars should seal and lids should pop shut as they cool. If they don’t seal, place them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or refrigerate any unsealed jelly. Once opened, refrigerated jelly will keep about three weeks. Sealed jars will remain flavorful for up to one year when kept in a cool, dark place. This recipe makes five half-pint jars.
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