I recently joined a Yahoo! Group that is all about canning and preserving food. One of the women was talking about making a beautiful jelly out of the wild violets in her yard and I was so intrigued that I looked up the recipe. It seemed simple, and I have a horde of violets in the yard right now, so I thought...why not?
The recipe calls for two cups of violet flowers and of COURSE I forgot to take a picture of what that looks like, but it was very pretty.
Then, you pour two cups of boiling water over the flowers and let them sit. This extracts the delicate flavor and the beautiful color from the flowers. Here is what that looked like: drowned flowers.
You let that sit all day (or all night), then strain the flowers out and keep the water. You should still have close to 2 cups. Make sure to press as much water as you can out of the flowers. It comes out the most beautiful blue color.
You need to add some acid to make it OK to can it in a hot water bath. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice which, unfortunately, turns it this purple color. While pretty, I much preferred the blue.
Have ready a boiling water bath with your canning jars in it, sterilizing. I wound up using 3 half-pint jars and 3 4oz jars, and still had a little left over. Be sure to also sterilize the lids (you don't need to sterilize the rings).
Put the extract in a medium saucepan on high. Add four cups of sugar and bring it to a boil. Add one packet of liquid pectin and boil for one minute.
Take it off the heat and (working quickly) pull jars one at a time out of their bath and start filling. Take care not to touch the rims, and leave 1/2 inch of headroom. Wipe rims and seal. Leave in a comfortable, non-drafty place for 24 hours to properly seal.
I think these are gorgeous. Taste-wise, they are very slightly floral with a very slightly grapey flavor. Very delicate, I have no idea what I might use them for. This was the first time I've used liquid pectin and I'm really happy, though it did start to gel very quickly.