Posts Tagged ‘nature’

4 Ways to Try Edible Violets this Spring

edible violets on cupcakesAre Violets Edible?

Violets can be used for more than violet crowns and bouquets. Although sometimes considered a lawn weed, violets are edible as well as beautiful. Just make sure they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals and wash them first. To make gathering wild edible violets easy, I use a $3 mini colander from World Market. It’s only available in store, so here are some other ideas if you don’t have one near you. It’s also great for herbs, berry picking and other small garden harvests.

The shade loving flowers are blooming right now in the Midwest. If you have them, don’t let your chance to eat flowers pass you by this spring. They’re here for a limited time! Try these four recipe ideas for preparing edible violets in a beautiful way.

Violet Flower Recipe Ideas

Wondering how to eat violets? The pretty purple flowers add a luxurious touch to meal time. And according to the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, the flowers contain soluble fiber. Win.

Violet Flower Tea

Fresh or dried violet flowers and leaves make a light, refreshing tea.

Violet Flower Cake Garnish

Frost a cake and add the flowers (cut off the stems) as an all-natural, organic, vegan and gluten free cake decoration. Pair it with a homemade cake banner for extra flair.

Violet Flower Salad

Add a handful of violet flowers to a salad for a pop of color. The flowers don’t have a strong taste so they blend right in. Violet leaves are also edible so try adding those to a salad too.

Violet Flower Ice Cubes

Add a floral touch to drinks when entertaining. Just freeze violet flowers into the water when you’re making ice in a tray. So easy!

Violet flowers add a touch of natural whimsy to your meals that will delight your guests. Some children (and adults!) might need a little encouragement to eat a flower, but it’s a great opportunity for understanding and appreciating the culinary gifts the wild world has to offer.

Pick Your Own Berries Season

What to wear berry pickingSummer isn’t complete until I’ve gone blueberry picking at least once. Maybe it’s because I grew up near a pick-your-own berry farm, or more likely because there’s no other food in the world I like quite as much as blueberries. There’s also just something so rewarding about being involved in procuring the berries you eat and seeing the land where it’s grown.

The season varies every year for blueberry picking, because the crops are sensitive to moisture and temperature changes. I’ve been picking in the Pacific Northwest as early as June and in Wisconsin as late as August. Some years there hasn’t been a crop at all, which is disappointing to say the least!

The general rule for the Midwest is early summer strawberries, mid summer blueberries and late summer raspberries. So not to worry if you’ve missed strawberries and blueberries where you live, there might still be raspberries on the horizon.

Here’s what I’ve learned from years of faithful berry picking.

what to wear berry pickingWhat to wear berry picking

When choosing what to wear berry picking, consider clothing that you don’t mind getting stained. Blue and black clothes for blueberry picking work out well. Pants or shorts are ideal because picking berries can require crouching and sitting on the ground.

A hat to keep the bugs and sun off your face. Need hat inspiration? Here are three of my  favorites, at different price points:

What to bring:

Bug spray.

A cooler with a tray and/or container to transport your berries home in.

Cash, as some berry farms don’t take credit cards.

A small child or two. Berry picking is a fun activity for little ones, so give the kids in your life a chance to learn about farming, food production and nature if you can!

What to leave at home:

Your pets! Most farms don’t allow dogs.

Picking baskets and buckets. The farm will supply these, though you can bring your own if you prefer.

What to know:

Call ahead! Most berry farms are small family operations that will close if they get picked out or if there’s inclement weather. Before you drive way out into the country, confirm that the farm will be open when you get there.

Not all farms are pesticide free, so do your research ahead of time if you prefer organic produce.

what to wear berry pickingWhere to pick:

Find farms near you at pickyourown.org.

What berries are in season near you?

Violet Flower Crowns

Violet flower crownThere’s a little flower that’s in season right now in the upper Midwest, and it’s been a huge inspiration to me this week. I had a throwback to childhood moment and decided to make a flower crown with real woodland violets as I used to do as a kid. I made a slip knot with each stem, then closed the knot around the stem of the next flower, and so on. It was a lot harder than I remembered! I had to use sewing thread to bind the flowers together and even so it was delicate and short-lived. But I was able to wear it for this photo shoot and it was a good excuse to play barefoot in the woods.

Violet Flower Crowns

DIY real violet flower crownBesides being a lovely accessory inspiration, violets have many other uses too! I’ll be covering that in a post really soon.

Shop flower crowns

Flowers aren’t in season where you live? Get a ready made flower crown at a good price at the shops I’ve linked below. And don’t forget my personal favorite source for handmade goods: Etsy, where you can find every style of violet flower crown you can dream of.