Violets are not the stuff of bouquets, with their delicate purple, blue and white tops and heart-shaped leaves barely peeking through the Spring landscape for just a few short weeks. Yet, both the flowers and the leaves are not only edible, they are loaded with nutrients, including Vitamins A and C, as well as minerals.
Make sure you collect from a spot that has not had any chemicals applied (such as lawn fertilizers, fungicides, etc.). We add the flowers and leaves to our salads and even on sandwiches as a substitute for sprouts). The leaves are also especially useful to reduce inflammation and can be applied externally or taken internally (either eaten or as a tincture). Of course, if you take anything as medicine, do your homework and consult a professional who treats your condition.
To make a tincture, fill a jar with a mix of flowers and the youngest, most tender leaves. Do not wash (another reason to pick from a clean area). Add vodka to cover, label and wait about four weeks. Expert herbalist Susun Weed says it is not necessary to shake though some people do it anyway. Strain plant matter and bottle in amber or cobalt bottles; don’t forget to label them! Consult a qualified practitioner for more information on using violet tinctures, since this is not health professional info and just because it’s herbal, doesn’t mean it fits your situation.
Yes, you can just enjoy the violets where you find them but why pass up such a delicious and fleeting treat?