Thursday, April 10, 2014

Edible Violets: A Taste of Spring

Until they were placed before Hubby and me during breakfast on a recent excursion, I had no idea the violets that inundate our yard each spring were edible. Not only did the freshly picked violets brighten our breakfast, they tasted delicious with the fresh eggs prepared by John and Diane, the owners of Storybrook Farm Bed & Breakfast in Jonesborough, TN.
Violet topped eggs | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
We enjoyed a beautiful violet-topped
breakfast at Storybrook Farm.

Over warm and easy breakfast conversation, we learned it is the wild violets that grow in our yard; Viola sororia or the common blue violet; that are edible. The African violets that brighten our homes are not edible. They are actually poisonous, so don't eat them. For me, it is easy to remember the difference: DON'T eat the ones that die on me when I try to grow them on the window sill; DO eat the ones that grow all over the yard each spring.
Fresh Picked Violets | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare

Now that I know the common blue violet, with its heart-shaped leaves, can be used for garnish, in salads, as cooked greens, or prepared as tea, I decided to harvest them. According to Steve Brill on the HGTV website, vitamins A and C are found in the leaves. The flowers contain vitamin C. And I already know they are tasty, because I ate every bit of my garnish when we were in Tennessee. 

The best part about learning about the edible properties of violets is they are free. I do not have to plant seeds or seedlings purchased at a store. The watering is taken care of by Mother Nature, so my water bill is not affected whatsoever. I do not have to buy violets or violet leaves at the farmers' market. I do not have to do a thing to earn the plentiful harvest with which we are blessed each spring. 

The free stuff comes in handy when you have kids in college and your budget is tight. We also do our best to eat healthy, so free healthy foodstuff is a win-win around our house.

Of course, getting my family to eat them might be a challenge. You think they would notice if I added violets to my three-cheese quiche?

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
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