I can’t believe how lucky I am.
The house we bought last August has a fully functioning garden and mature trees. That’s a rarity for most first-time home buyers.
There’s a small apple tree out front (that actually produced fruit last fall!), several tulips, irises and daffodils blooming, and over the weekend some friends found mint growing outside of our porch door.
You can’t hardly walk two steps outside without finding an edible plant or flower.
I wanted to take advantage of our early spring bounty so I plucked some wild violets (there are three different colors blooming around our house) and some dandelions (I made sure to leave plenty for the bees) and steeped them overnight in some hot water.
After straining off the flowers, I was left with a lightly floral scented water. I mixed that in with some fresh-squeezed lemonade and offered it up to anyone who stopped by our house this weekend.
Just call me a wildcrafting maven. I’m now searching for my next backyard treat.
Violets are very easy to spot in early March/April. They’ll grow in clusters and have cute little heart-shaped leaves. They don’t even have to be violet, either. We have a ton of clusters in our backyard that are white.
The dark the violet shade, though, the more likely your lemonade will turn pink. I only used a lighter lilac-colored violet so I still got the trademark yellow lemonade. There are deep-violet varities, though, that will likely have color seep out when you steep them.
Violet & Dandelion Lemonade
An early-spring wildcrafted lemonade that will quench any thirst.
- 2 cups wild violet flowers
- 1 cup dandelion flowers
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 8-10 lemons
- 8 cups water, plus more for steeping
- Once you’ve picked your flowers, rinse well under cold water to get rid of any bugs. Pick out any leaves or grass. Let dry on paper towels for a few hours.
- Boil 2 cups of water. Pick apart flower petals on dandelions and violets. Place into a resealable container (preferably glass, not plastic. A mason jar works well). Pour boiling water over the top of the flowers. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
- Make the lemonade: squeeze 8-10 lemons in a large gallon jug. Stir in sugar and water to taste. Using a fine mesh strainer or cheescloth, put on top of the hole in the gallon jug. Pour flower water on top, making sure no flower bits get into the lemonade. Stir well.
- Serve over ice and with violets for garnish.