Violet honey

Well folks, I think we just pulled through the most depressing weekend of the year.  How was it for you?

Years ago, I read that the third weekend in January is the saddest time of the year.  I think the article outlined a few factors: the plunging temperatures (I actually went for a walk today while wearing ski goggles), the darkness, the after-Christmas credit card bills, etc.

I can’t say I feel particular down today.  In fact, I admitted to my sister that I think January is one of my favourite months.  It’s the time of year when life is as normal as it’s going to get; no holiday hoopla, no summer vacations to throw things off, just plain ol’ regular life.  The routine and everyday-ness of it all is solid enough to really dig into.

But, even though I’m emotionally stable enough right now, I don’t mind staring at this bit of eye candy.  It reminds me that blooms and bronzed arms and liquid H20 outside really did happen–it wasn’t a just a hallucination caused by strong winds and negative temperatures (-43C today here including windchill).  And the crazy thing is that it will happen again in just a few short months!

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I harvested these from my yard and the park behind our house. I believe this is a mix of Viola tricolor and Viola sororia.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, the real reason I’m taunting you all with pictures of violets is… violet honey.

This season, we’ve had our share of stuffed-up noses, head-aches, and the kind of sore throats that make you wince before you swallow. When my throat felt like I was swallowing crushed glass I was happy I had made this six months earlier:

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A half-eaten jar of violet honey. You can see that the violets and honey are sort of crystallized.

Last June, Susanna and I collected bowls full of violets.  The are fine to eat fresh (in moderation) but I wanted to try infusing them into honey to preserve them and their medicinal qualities.  Making the honey was very easy.  I stuffed a clean jar full of clean-ish violets, then I poured warmed honey over the flowers and tried to stuff even more violets into the jar.  I put a lid on the jar and let it sit in my cupboard until December, when I really needed it.

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When my throat was at its worst, I took a spoonful of the honey right before bed.  Sometimes I would take more during the night, to soothe my throat.  According to my copy of Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada by Lone Pine Publishing, violets are rich in vitamin A and C (1/4 cup can be equivalent to 4 oranges) and are useful for relieving sore throats and coughs, among other things.  After a few spoonfuls of the stuff, I could swallow easily enough to fall asleep.

The great thing about collecting violets is that I actually noticed them.  Before I knew anything about violets I had no idea they were all over my yard! Now that I am on the lookout for them, I see them everywhere!  …In spring, that is, when they aren’t covered with two feet of snow.

Wishing you dreams of violets,

Tricia

ps. After I posted my last entry, a wise friend of mine sent me an email with this: “I liked your article, btw. Though, maybe just lower your expectations about how much you can get done in the short term – in the long term, the sky is still the limit!”  I think she’s right.  Without any dreams or visions life would get pretty stale – but the day to day stuff is where I need to cut myself some slack.  Anyway, I thought her point provides some balance and was worth sharing.

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2 thoughts on “Violet honey

    • Cheryl, I’m glad you included your maiden name:) … and that you are reading along!! “You can take the girl out of the snow, but you can’t take the snow out of the girl!” Or something like that.
      Thanks for commenting, too. It’s interesting to know who is out there.
      Tricia

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