May Foraging: The Colour Purple

Whipping up your own lilac syrup

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Hayley Bisofsky Pope
Cornwall dweller, lifestyle blogger and founder of The Little Naturalists Club
9 May 2022

A woodland walk struggles to get more beautiful than when it's carpeted with bluebells, and where you find bluebells, you'll often find another little purple flower which is edible...

Wild Violet

Wild Violet flowers are small purple flowers with five petals, two pointing upwards and three pointing downwards, and glossy heart shaped leaves.

They grow everywhere but you often see them tucked into the hedgerow along with bluebells and other spring flowering plants.

A nostalgic taste

The roots and the seed of this plant are toxic and should not be consumed but the leaves and flowers are edible and the flowers were traditionally used as flavouring in puddings and sweets.

The flowers taste faintly sweet and much like ‘Parma violets’, and if boiled to extract their colouring, they can be used to make a colour changing lemonade.

Making lilac syrup

Simply place a cup full of violet flower into a pan along with a cup full of water and 1/2 cup of sugar.

Simmer until all the colouring has been extracted from the flowers and you are left with just green stewed plant matter. Sieve to separate the liquid from the spent flowers.

A delicious mixer

You will be left with a purpley green liquid that can be added to sparkling mineral water. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and watch the purple fizzy water turn into hot pink coloured lemonade.

It makes a refreshing sparkling, floral and citrus drink to enjoy on a spring day sat on a lounger in the sun or better still, skip the sparkling water and just add a splash of Tarquin’s Gin and ice.