How To Make Wild Violet Syrup with Honey
Violet syrup! Ah, the magic of a pure purple liquid that comes from mama nature. I couldn’t resist making up a batch for myself before all of my violets disappeared for the season. But I admit — I was intimidated by the idea of making violet syrup without using refined sugar — most of the recipes I’d seen around the internet require cane sugar. Cane sugar is the best to avoid muddying the perfect, bright purple color of the water the violets are steeped in. What’s a refined sugar-free gal to do?
Thankfully my yard was heavy with violet flowers this year for weeks, so I got the chance to try out a refined sugar free violet syrup recipe myself. By the time I got around to testing, however, I could barely scrounge a cup of the bright purple buds. Inspired by this post, I realized I didn’t need to have pounds of flowers to make up a decent syrup. I love it when the universe gives me permission to just go ahead and do the damn thing. ‘Never to fear, you don’t need a lot to make some magic.”
As with violet syrup, so with life.
I tested this recipe with agave, but raw honey is an even better option. I would have used honey myself but I had just run out the day I made this syrup up. Honey is always my go-to, and I think is likely a better pair for violets all-in-all.
If you don’t have a lot of flowers around, you can halve this whole recipe for a mini batch that’s just as good and still a beautiful bright purple. The key is the lemon juice which takes the steeped violet water from blue to purple. A tiny bit of acid goes a long way.
Here are a few ideas for how to use your violet syrup:
In cocktails and mocktails.
Poured over cakes (vanilla cakes will have the most dramatic color impact).
As a sweetener for lemonade or iced tea.
As ice-pops frozen with fresh fruit and edible flowers for the kiddos (and adult-o’s).
Paired with seltzer water and a sprig of mint.
Poured over ladyfingers in a vanilla pudding berry trifle situation!?! Oh yeah baby!
Ok — enjoy, honeybees! xo — Renee
Inactive prep time: 1 hour up to overnight - Active prep time: 5 minutes - Makes: 1 1/2 cups syrup
Notes: This recipe is very forgiving — you can use more or less flowers to get a similar result. I find raw honey to be the best sweetener for this — it changes the color of the syrup less than an agave will. Agave gives it more of a reddish / magenta hue. Use a light-colored agave if choosing that option. Also, this syrup is really all about the color — steeped violets don’t have much of a taste (when fresh they taste a lot like lettuce).
roughly 1 cup packed violets, rinsed in cool water
1 1/2 cups hot water
a few drops lemon juice
1/2 cup raw honey or agave
In a glass (or non-reactive metal) bowl combine the violets, hot water and a few drops lemon juice. The lemon juice turns the water from electric blue to purple.
Set aside for a while — as little as one hour up to overnight. The longer the steep, the stronger the color.
Once steeped, strain the liquid into a non-reactive bowl and use a wooden spoon to press all of the color out of the flowers. You could also strain the flowers through muslin cloth and squeeze every last drop out of them into your sauce pan. Compost the leftover flowers.
Add the honey or agave to the bowl with the violet water and stir. Set over a pan with boiling water (double boiler style) to warm the mixture just enough that the sweetener dissolves (don’t simmer/boil). You’ll know it has dissolved because — when the mixture is held up to the light — it will look clear and uniform.
Pour the violet syrup into a glass container and seal with a lid.
Store in the fridge until used up.