make your own: violet syrup.

    April 23, 2019

    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves

    Recommended: A spring afternoon spent playing with flowers. My kids are on spring break this week and we’re spending a few extra days at my parents’ house, half working and half playing and mostly getting all the way muddy.

    My mom and dad’s yard is an early spring dream this week: all daffodils and violets edged with a bright yellow forsythia hedge. The patches of wild violets are mostly of the white variety, streaked with painterly purple, but there are are—or at any rate, there were—a handful of patches populated with dark purple flowers, perfect for experimenting with violet confections.

    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves

    I’d never made a violet syrup before, but what better way to please a four year-old enamored with the color than to make a bright purple syrup for her tasting pleasure? Together, Faye and I harvested as many deep purple violets as we could, popping the cheery heads off of their stems like two not-so-gentle giants.

    Most recipes for violet syrup call for a quantity of violets that surpasses what my parents have in their yard, so here’s some encouragement to go ahead and give the recipe a try even if you don’t find yourself in the middle of a violet metropolis. I found the recipe to be forgiving and amenable to changes and fairy-sized portions. Here’s what I did; feel free to adjust according to the size of your patch and ambition.

    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves


    + ~1 cup of packed dark purple violets, stems and green base removed.

    + Water, enough to just cover the violet petals

    + Lemon juice, just a few drops

    + ~ 1/2 cup sugar

    + Sieve

    + Cheesecloth or other clean fabric

    + Small sauce pan and heat-safe bowl, or a double-boiler if you have it.

    + Clean bottle or jar for storing the syrup

    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves
    Violet petals, stems and small green cap removed.


    + Lightly rinse violet petals in sieve under cool water to be sure they’re free of bugs and insects.

    + Place cleaned petals into a non-reactive glass or stainless steel jar or bowl. Pour boiling water on top of the petals until just barely covered. Use a wooden spoon (or your fingers once the water is cool enough) to gently agitate mixture and press the petals. Let sit covered for as little as a few hours, or overnight.

    + Once steeped, the water will appear dark blue. Add a few squeezes of lemon juice and watch it turn a bright, very nearly luminescent purple.

    + Line a sieve with cheesecloth and strain the liquid into a bowl or pot. Squeeze the cheesecloth to get every last drop out of the flowers.

    + Add ~1/2 cup sugar (liquid to sugar ratio should be about 2:1) and stir. Place the bowl or sauce pan over a pan with boiling water to gently melt the sugar.

    + While still warm, add the the syrup to a clean glass jar or bottle. Cover and keep refrigerated until all used up in the making of sparkling seltzers, drizzled over cakes, stirred into frosting, added to cocktails or otherwise generally enjoyed.

    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves
    Violet petals, prepared.


    + Always be sure that you’re harvesting edible flowers away from places that have not been treated with pesticides and/or that have also been recently treated to gifts from neighborhood dogs.

    + Recipes for violet syrup are abundant online. Some have you steep in cold water. Some have you cook petals over the stove. Some, like I have, used boiling water to kickstart the infusion process. If you’ve tried a different process that you’ve like, feel free to share in the comments!

    + I can’t say that the resulting syrup is the most floral or fragrant that I’ve made. It’s definitely purple, but it mostly lacks the signature violet taste of, say, the violet pastilles I loved as a kid. This is likely violet variety specific, and probably has to do with the delicate nature of the scent to begin with. Enjoy the process, and the thrill of drinking flowers, but don’t, perhaps, expect an extremely floral syrup if your flowers are not very fragrant themselves.

    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves
    I steeped my violet petals in a glass jar.
    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves
    Before adding lemon juice, the petal-soaked liquid is a beautiful blue color.
    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves
    A few drops of lemon juice changes it to a bright purple.
    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves
    I used cheesecloth in a colander for straining the violet-infused water, but any clean loose-weave cotton cloth would work just as well.
    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves
    I heated my strained liquid and sugar over another pot of boiling water to melt the sugar without over heating the syrup.
    make your own violet syrup | reading my tea leaves

    borrowed words.

    April 22, 2019

    spring wildflowers | reading my tea leaves

    Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

    Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

    Open the door, then close it behind you.

    Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.

    Give it back with gratitude.

    If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back.

    Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.

    Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the guardians who have known you before time, who will be there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there without time.

    Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

    Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who accompany you.
    Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them.

    On Earth Day, an excerpt from the poem For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet from Joy Harjo’s 2015 book Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.

    my week in objects (mostly).

    April 19, 2019

    1. this sunflower-to-be.

    dirt in a white pot

    {we’ll be on sprout watch over spring break.}

    2. the return of this lightweight blanket*.

    ecru blanket on a twin bed

    {and faye’s quiet attempts to make her bed each morning.}

    3. this little bundle.

    twine and string on a wooden table

    {for being so compact and so satisfying.}

    4. the semi-annual canvas bag reckoning.

    bags hanging in a closet

    {and the final edit.}

    5. lopsided tulips.

    tulips in a white pitcher

    {droopy and faded but still lovely to look at.}

    other things:

    curating meaning in our online lives.

    she always does things i find suspicious, and they always turn out delicious

    mom vs. dad.

    comfort and loneliness, hope and foreboding…

    home smog.

    three minutes.*

    sweet pea paints!

    the female body is seen as the atypical body.

    with a skirt for twirling.

    where life is precious, life is precious.

    with warm weather on the brain.*

    also, this. (yellow plaid is a neutral.)

    * Denotes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

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