Posts tagged ‘Viola’

May 6, 2013

Edible Flowers

There are many edible flowers that are delicious and nutritious. Flowers have flavonoids which is a powerful antioxidant group that is responsible for the colour of the plants. Antioxidants also help protect the plant against stressors and protects our cells as well when we eat them.

Violas have a mild sweet fresh flavour and flowers are always best used fresh. Put in tea or toss raw in salads and add as a garnish to brighten any dish.

Viola

Viola

Learn more about Violas or Violets here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/2012/04/19/sweet-violets/

Besides stuffing squash and zucchini flowers with soft nut cheeses use other flowers like Nasturtiums and stuff them with herbal soft nut cheeses or thick dips. Nasturtiums are also a great addition to salads and the flower buds are pickled like capers, they have a real spicy flavour.

There are also many other flowers to use as a garnish or add to a salad. Flowers are better eaten raw because they are too delicate to cook and will lose nutrition and flavour.

There are also edible herb flowers that make an attractive garnish like chive flowers which look great floated in soups or added to salads. Add Mint flowers like bee balm, peppermint, spearmint, oregano, thyme, hyssop, rosemary to drinks and salads and they also make attractive and pleasant smelling garnish. Get creative with combinations.

Pansies look like Violas but don’t have much flavour like Violas do. They do make beautiful decorations for cakes, desserts and salads though.

Carnations have a sweet clove like flavour that makes it a nice addition to chai tea or desserts.Dianthus   Sunflower petals have a nutty flavour that make a nice colourful cheery addition to salads. image

Marigold/Calendula have a mild citrus fresh flavour and have brilliant orange yellow petals that remind me of saffron and are used in the same way. Use in desserts, salads, drinks and sprinkle on rice after cooking. There are so many varieties with varying flavours. I like these petite French citrus one I grow,  it packs flavour taste.

Calendula

Calendula

Learn more about Calendula here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/herbs/calendula/

Lavender is used a lot in dessert recipes and the flavour is still strong even after baking with it.

trees 031Learn more about Lavender here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/2012/07/12/lavender/

Dandelion flowers are best known for use in making dandelion wine. Pickle the buds like capers. Young flowers are used in salads but old ones might need to be steamed for a minute or two.

dandelion wineLearn more about Dandelions here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/herbs/dandelion/

Wild roses are beautiful in drinks, salads or desserts.

backyard bliss 048 - CopyLearn more about roses here >>> http://earthelixir.ca/2012/06/04/roses-for-you/

April 25, 2012

Violet honey

Following up the sweet violet blog http://earthelixir.ca/2012/04/19/sweet-violets/

I decided to go violet flower picking and make violet (Viola) honey.

Viola

 

Flower scented honey was very popular in Victorian times in England and violet honey was a favourite. Use flavoured honey as a spread, to flavour sauces and desserts, for tea, mead, wine, and anyway that you would use honey. Flavoured honey is delicious, nutritious, and it is simple and easy to make.

Violet Honey Recipe:

1 cup honey

½ cup of sweet violet petals

Directions:

Pour 1 cup of honey into a double boiler or a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Warm on low heat and stir in violet flowers, I used a wooden chopstick to stir. Cover and heat on low for ½ hour. Turn off heat and let cool slightly. Remove from heat and leave the honey to infuse, covered for a week or pour it into a mason jar.

After a week slowly warm the honey again in the double boiler or a bowl over a simmering pan of water on low heat. The warm honey will be easier to pour and strain the flowers out with a fine mesh strainer and it put back into the jar.  Makes about 1 cup of flavoured Violet honey. Label jar or use a honey pot.

Flavoured Variations:

Rosemary is a popular breakfast preserve.

Infuse 4 springs of rosemary in 1 cup of honey.

Bibliography on Violet and Violet honey:

The Herb Bible  Peter McHoy Pamela Westland

Quarto publishing 1994

The Energetics of Western Herbs Peter Holmes

Lotus press 1998

The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal David Hoffman

Element books 1997

April 19, 2012

Sweet Violets

Nothing says spring like Violets! Not to confuse violets with the tropical African violets they are also known as Wild Pansy. There are so many varieties of Viola, which is their Latin name and what I prefer to call them so that there is no confusion. Sweet Viola is another nutritive antioxidant that is perfect medicinal food. Violet leaves and flowers are edible and are preferred fresh of course.  For tincture purposes using fresh Viola is also preferred. Viola is a nutritious remedy that detoxifies and decongests.

Use all species of Viola interchangeably because they have similar plant constituents and properties. For medicinal use the wild varieties of Viola are preferred over the cultivated garden varieties.

Common   Name Violet
Latin Name Viola spp.

Viola odorata- sweet blue violet

Viola tricolour- Heartease

aka Wild pansy, Johnny jump-ups

Family Violaceae
Parts Used Perennial- flowers, leaves picked in spring to summer. Best if eaten fresh.
Target Organs Central Nervous System, Nerves, Cardiovascular, heart, lungs, lymphatic, skin, kidney, bladder
Common Uses Nutritive antioxidant

Respiratory:   cough, bronchitis, colds, flu,

Lymphatic Immune   tonic,

Nervous system:   relaxant, pain, tranquilizer

Toxicity   conditions: skin conditions- eczema, arthritis

Properties anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, cholagogue, diaphoretic,  diuretic, secretolytic expectorant,  depurative,   febrifuge, antineoplastic, nutritive, lymphatic, hypotensive, relaxant, nervine, vulnerary
Constituents Essential oils,   flavonoids: (anthocyanidins, violaquercetin,)

methyl   salicylate, salicylic acid, saponins, alkaloids, mucilage, tannins,

Minerals:   Calcium, magnesium

Cautions Heartsease is   high in saponins. Prolonged full dose may cause nausea, diarrhea and   vomiting. Best used in a formulation if taken for long periods.
Dosage Best eaten fresh or used fresh in a salad.

Fresh Tincture:   1-5ml best used in a formulation

Infusion: 8-16g

Viola odorata- Blue Violet

Sweet Blue Violets

This variety of Violet- Viola odorata is more medicinal. Sweet Blue violet herb and root has more expectorant, anti-tussive, antiseptic action than Heartsease that addresses lung damp or dry heat. It also has more anti-tumor action. The heart shaped leaves address matters of the heart.

Blue violet seed is a diuretic that is good for painful urinary conditions.

Viola tricolour- Heartsease aka Wild Pansy, Johnny jump-ups

Heartsease aka Wild Pansy

Heartsease growing in rye fields has been known to help skin conditions caused by too much rye wheat in the diet. There is a relationship I would like to explore more. As I curl up with my sweet blue violet fresh infusion, it is a reminder to make some Viola honey and syrups…mmmm

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