Violets and Amaranth

Eating weeds and gaining grains: an adventure in eating

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It’s Violet Season!

We’ve been busy in our corner of the world.  We’ve been managing to get out in the yard/garden in between the raindrops.

Despite the constant rain, we do finally have spring in NE Ohio and all the flowers to go along with it.  I haven’t had enough rain-free days in a row to get my annual spread of corn gluten in my front lawn, and the flowering plants are taking advantage of it!  Corn gluten is a beneficial addition to organically grown lawns.  It provides a feeding of nitrogen and blocks the germination of seeds in the lawn for up to 60 days.  Plus it is non-toxic and compatible with an organic lawn.  Even still, it is full of nitrogen, which we don’t need running off of our lawn and into the area waterways and Lake Erie.  So, I wait for a few dry days in a row, and watch the violets from the back yard, creep their way into the front.  Really, that’s not so bad.  It looks like I might, maybe get a window of opportunity later this week, which would be perfect- the dandelions haven’t gone to seed yet.  If I can get the corn gluten down before that, I will consider this year a success.  And remember friends, that according to website of Paul Tukey and his great book The Organic Lawn Care Manual, this is one of three acceptable times of year to bag your lawn clippings rather than mulch them back to the soil.

The real treat lately has been all of the blooms and flowers!  Here’s just a sample of the blooms around our house.

A Yard Full of Violets

Quince and Forsythia

We are lucky that our yard has so many violets this year.  We definitely have more than last year, which is what we wanted.  We started violet season with our favorite pasta dish for violets, “Sicilian Corkscrews with White Beans” from How to Eat Supper.  We sprinkle the pasta with violets rather than parsley.

Violets in a Bowl

A Violet Meal

Most years, this makes for a fresh pasta dinner, with the violets bringing a fresh, green, almost lemon taste.  This year we were surprised at how they tasted; they were kind of watered down.  This year I had so hoped to make violet jelly, using the recipe found at Prairie Herbs as suggested by my Foraging Family friends, but now I’m not so sure.  I just don’t think the flowers will add any flavor to the jelly.  Maybe I’ll let it go for this year, and let the violets go to seed instead.  (I don’t use corn gluten in my back yard!).  It must be all the rain that makes them taste so watered down.  Either way, they are still so pretty to look at.

A Violet Bite