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Herb of the week

By Lynn Kirkland


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Herb of the week for 3rd August
By Lynn Kirkland

Viola odorata is the botanical name of the sweetly scented violet which blooms beautifully in the middle of winter.
Violets have been loved throughout the ages as a fragrant herb as well as a herb used for healing and in the kitchen.

It is always such a pleasure to be in the garden on a cold winterís day and come across a patch of sweet violets in the woods.
I love to pick a posy and bring them into a room where close to a source of heat they will release their delicate, elusive but oh so beautiful aroma.

Violets are an edible flower and can be crystallised and stored for decorating cakes for a special occasion or they can be scattered over salads to look gorgeous and surprise diners who are new to eating flowers.

In the past violets were grown in monastery gardens and used in syrups to soothe coughs and as sweeteners in herbal medicines. Infused in fats they were used in ointments to soothe troubled skin.
Also infused in wines or vinegars where they impart a mauve hue. Infused in milk they would give a pampering and soothing bath to those who could have afforded the luxury.

The scent of violets is elusive and can be difficult to capture but a lovely way to use an abundance of blooms is to pick them when they are dry and cover with liquid honey and either warm in a water bath or in the hot water cupboard. Strain the flowers and repeat with fresh ones for a stronger scent. Strain the flowers from the honey by warming the honey and pouring through a sieve. Bottle and use on toast, crumpets, muffins or in herbal tea.

Six to ten flowers infused in a cup of boiling water and left covered for five minutes is said to make a lovely sleep inducing tea.
Sweet dreams from a sweet scented herb.

 

Thanks lynn another great read.

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