Violet flowers and leaves have to be my absolutely favorite wild flower to eat. So delicious! And they are blooming right now here in Virginia. Pictured below is a hybrid of the common blue violet (Viola papilionacea) and white violet (Viola blanda) — a Blue-white hybrid. There are many, many species of Viola, and I believe most, if not all, are all edible.
Violets are super nutritious and super medicinal when used regularly as a fresh food and/or nourishing herbal infusion or tea. For infusions, you would pick the fresh leaves and flowers and then dry them and store in an air tight container. Use 1 oz per quart of boiling water, tightly capped and steeped for about 2 hours (I use a canning jar). For tea, use about a tablespoonful of either fresh or dried herb with a cup of boiling water, steeped for about 10 minutes.
Among other things, Violet is a prime anti-cancer herb, a blood tonic, and so good for your heart and circulation. It is mucilaginous, meaning it is soothing and healing to mucous membranes throughout your body. Many herbalists teach the “doctrine of signatures” meaning that plants will often show by their appearance and/or structure their medicinal uses and ways of supporting the body. Looking at the close up view below, I can definitely see the signature for the heart (leaves), circulation (veinous pattern on flower), and mucous membranes (cilia-like stamens in the flower throat). What do you see?
Some gourmet cooks will candy their violet flowers as decorations for bakery items. I think I will try this myself. It seems simple enough. I’m going to use the recipe posted here. You just dip violets in egg white and then in sugar and sit them out to dry and harden. Viola! (pun intended) You now have candied violet flowers!
For more wonderful recipes and information about this amazing plant, I highly recommend the chapters on Violets in Susun Weed’s Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series)and Gail Faith Edwards’ Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs.