Any time the sun peeks out or the rain stops, head outside and go violet hunting. They are plentiful at the moment, and the more you pick them, the more they will grow! You can see some pics of my beautiful back yard harvest below. I had already picked my garden clean 2 weeks ago but they are back with a vengeance! Garnish your veggies, sprinkle them through your warm salads, pop them into tea, make a syrup, a medicinal paste or some delicious salad vinegar. Please see my post from last year for violet paste and violet vinegar recipes. Get some purple into your meal!
You can see some pics of my lovely violet oxymel below. An oxymel is traditionally a medicinal combination of vinegar and honey (you can substitute honey with maple syrup, rice syrup or any other sweetener of your choice for a vegan alternative). I simply filled my jar with violets, covered with good quality apple cider vinegar and 2 spoons of local honey, closed the lid and shook it every day for 2 weeks. I then strained it, poured into a clean bottle and store it in the fridge. I am now using it as a digestive (1 tablespoon in a small quantity of water before meals) and as a dressing. Just look at that gorgeous colour!
As an interesting aside, violets have traditionally been admired for their sweet floral or 'powdery' scent. However a genetic variant has been discovered that causes some people to be insensitive to the floral note that others perceive and instead causes a pungent odour. I was so pleased to discover this as I have always thought violets smell like cat pee and couldn't work out why their scent was so celebrated.
Violets 'ephemeral' scent has also been found to derive from a compound called Ionone. Ionone stimulates scent receptors to arouse our sense of smell, however it then binds to those same receptors and temporarily shuts them down. After a few moments the brain redetects the scent and you can smell it again. Hence their fleeting scent.