According to our favorite groundhog, Spring is right around the corner! That means that wildflowers will soon grace our yards again, and one of the first flowers you see may be the common Violet. Violets are a beautiful, delicate flower that pops up when the weather gets warm, and they are edible!
Violets are rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, especially when harvested young. They are also similar to the Mullein plant in that they contain mucilage and saponins to help with respiratory problems. They also contain a high amount of salicylic acid, which is a natural pain reliever.
One of the best things about violets, however, is their hight concentration of rutin. Rutin is a compound that strengthens capillaries and prevents “leakage” from the blood vessels, resulting in less swelling and pain, which benefits people who suffer from inflammation.
Violets can be made into a tea, eaten in a salad, or their leaves sauteed like spinach. I bet you can guess which one I’ll choose!
Most sites recommend using the leaves for tea as opposed to the flowers. One site even goes as far as saying “flowers are to eat, leaves are to drink”, but most commercial teas are made with a combination of the flowers and leaves, so you drink whichever you like. Just be aware that the leaves contain most of the nutrients.
You can harvest the young leaves and dry them out using one of my home drying methods. For some great tea recipes and ideas, check out Herbal Academy of One. If you’d like to learn more about the amazing Violet, you can visit The Kitchn, Knoji, and Violet Tea.
As always, correctly identify any backyard plant before ingesting it.