12 May Johnny Jump Up Jam
The flowers and leaves of wild sweet violets and annual violas and pansies (johnny jump ups!) are edible and can be used in a variety of dishes — not just for a garnish or to top a salad. Sweet violets (Viola odorata) or johnny jump ups (Viola tricolor) can be candied or used in violet tea, violet cake, and violet syrup. While commonly added to salads, you can also use violet flowers to make vinegars, butters, spreads, and jellies. Violet flowers are as nutritional as they are beautiful- they are high in Vitamin C and A. Of course, be sure to select flowers that you know have not been sprayed. Their season is fleeting, so enjoy it while it lasts!
Jam from johnny jump ups makes a vibrant presentation, with a sweet, almost cinnamon-like flavor. This jam is super fast and easy to make.
Gather 1 heaping cup of johnny jump up blossoms, or wild sweet violets, or a mix of both.
-On the stove top combine 3/4 cup water and juice of half a large lemon.
-Add 2 1/2 cups white sugar (unfortunately, using the darker organic sugar just won’t achieve the same stunning color). Heat up until the sugar dissolves. It will look like a thick sugar syrup. You want it to be almost clear.
-Put this mixture into a food processor or blender. Toss in your flower blossoms and pulse for 30 seconds to chop. You will notice the color of the blossoms infusing the sugar syrup with a beautiful pinkish purple color.
-Heat another 3/4 cup of water in a pan and stir in 1 package of Sure-Jell pectin. Boil hard for 2 minutes.
-Pour this mixture into the food processor or blender with the other ingredients and pulse for 15 seconds. Quickly spoon or pour into sterile jars and seal. It will start jelling up as you are working.
In small jars this makes a wonderful gift. If you don’t can the jam, keep it refrigerated. It will last quite awhile in the fridge (unless you eat it as quick as I do!)
Recipe contributed by Tricia Borneman, inspired by herbalist Susan Hess of Farm at Coventry.