Please, eat the violets.
Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine|April 2021
The wild violets that dot our forest floors are pretty enough to eat. Go ahead—let our six simple recipes fuel your culinary imagination.
Elizabeth Edwards

They are beautiful additions to the top of a perfectly white cake. They are delicious when brewed in teas or made into a syrup. But did you know common blue violets are high in vitamin C and vitamin A? Stunning, tasty and good for you. Yes, please do eat the violets.

By April, our north woods (and shady lawns) are dappled with the purpley-blue to white shades of common blue, dog and long-spurred violets. In wetlands, you may come across a marsh blue. White and yellow violets bloom a bit later in the season and include the Canada, sweet white, Northern white and downy yellow. Besides color, you may recognize this second wave of violets because they’re leggier than their blue counterparts, though they still bear the characteristic five petals and heart-shaped leaves.

If you find yourself deep in the forest, face-to-face with a five-petaled purple flower that looks violet-like—except that its leaves are long and linear—it could well be a bird-foot violet. Wish it well, and then be on your way; bird-foot violets are protected in Michigan. Also note, African violets are not in the same genus as the violets listed above and are not edible.

VIOLET SALAD

Serves 4-6

8 cups of mild baby greens, washed and drained

1 cup violet leaves, washed and drained

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, washed, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon balm, washed, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, washed, drained and chopped

2 tablespoons violet vinegar (recipe below)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

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