There are so many great things exploding in the spring rain and sunshine that it's been difficult to choose what to write about. In fact Ive spent so much time playing in the garden that I may have left this post too late. A few weeks ago, all the normally shy violets were busting out to say hello, but this afternoon I could only find 3 in my garden. Hopefully you still have some flowers at your place, but never mind if you don't as the leaves and the roots also have a long tradition of medicinal use.
The flowers can be eaten raw, added to tea infusions, steeped in vinegar or made into a syrup or paste. A paste can be made into a nice gentle remedy for children's coughs, sore throats, stomach aches and constipation. A spoonful before bed is even said ease insomnia and nightmares.
To prepare the paste: Combine 1 cup violet flowers with 1/4 cup of water, the juice of 1 lemon and 1-2 cups of sweetener of your choice (honey, sugar, rice malt syrup, agave etc). Blend all ingredients and store in a glass jar in the freezer. Use 1/4 teaspoon every hour or so or as needed.
Of course, if your symptoms persist please see an accredited health practitioner to determine the cause of your malady.
A delicious and gorgeous salad vinegar can also easily be made by steeping your violet blossoms in apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar or rice vinegar. Don't use cheap white vinegar or it will taste awful. Simply place your violets into a wide mouth jar, cover with warmed (not boiling vinegar) and let sit away from direct sunlight for 6 weeks. Label your jar so you know when 6 weeks is up. At the end of 6 weeks you can either strain your flowers out and decant your vinegar into a bottle or leave as is.
Remember to use glass for vinegar tinctures as it is non-porous and will not leach potentially harmful toxins like plastic can. However choose a plastic lid as metal lids will react with the vinegar to form rust. if you only have metal lids, place a layer of waxed paper or plastic between the lid and the jar.