Homemade Lemonade and Wild Violet Ice Cubes
Now that it is Spring, I find that I just can not seem to get enough time outside. My first cup of coffee is sipped in the garden before the morning dew has even had the time to evaporate. Lazy afternoons are spent under a tall shady tree with an ice cold glass of homemade lemonade. If I am lucky, my evenings are spent unwinding on the patio with a glass of wine, my journal, and a book or two as my toes wiggle their way into the cool green grass. My winter’s hibernation, of long naps, heavy reading, endless internet surfing, late nights watching foreign films, occasional crafting, and attempts to master new culinary techniques have, by this time, long been forgotten…
It is during this long awaited season that I find myself gravitating towards a simpler and less fussy life. Long drawn out and complicated recipes that demand too much of my time indoors temporarily have no place in my kitchen, unless I am preserving a little bit of what the season has in hand… The cookbooks that were my guiding light throughout the Winter months are taken off the shelves and replaced with large clear glass jars used for collecting and displaying the intriguing artifacts that we find while hiking in the woods or walking along the shore. So, it goes with out saying that our meals also fall into this relaxed rhythm. However that does not mean that they are dull or uninspiring by any means…
Recently while admiring several desserts featuring edible flowers, I was inspired to find a way to savor their elegance, with the least amount of effort and mess possible… It was through this quest that I decided to preserve violets in ice cubes to be served throughout the spring in tall highball glasses full of homemade lemonade. The process was easy and the results were stunning. If you have not yet played with edible flowers, I think that this is a great place to start. They would be perfect for Mother’s Day, a Tea Party, a Sunday Brunch, or best of all simply clinking around in your glass of lemonade on a warm sunny day…
Homemade Lemonade With Violet Ice Cubes
Please keep in mind that only white and blue violets are edible. However, the yellow ones will still look stunning in a small vase.
3 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Fresh Lemon Juice (You will need approximately 2 pounds of fresh lemons.)
Violet Ice Cubes (Recipe Below)
Place the sugar in a 1-gallon container and bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil on the stove.
Pour the hot water over the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the lemon juice and fill the pitcher the rest of the way up with water. Mix well and serve in tall glasses filled with Violet Ice Cubes.
*Adding a shot of Vodka to each glass is an awesome way to punch it up a bit!
Violet Ice Cubes
Get outside on a beautiful day and forage for violets in your yard or another place that you know is free of pesticides. (White and blue violets are fine, but avoid picking the yellow ones as they are not edible.) I like to bring a small clean pail full of cool water to hold and gently wash my freshly picked violets. The violets are gently agitated and washed as I carry the pail throughout the yard.
Bring the violets inside and fill one or several ice cube trays halfway full of water.
Using a pair of tweezers to hold the violet, cut away as much of the green stem as possible without causing damage to the delicate flowers.
Using the tweezers, gently arrange the flowers individually on top of the water, in the ice cube trays.
Place in the freezer and freeze the ice cubes and violets until completely solid.
A couple hours later, remove the trays from the freezer and carefully pour cold water over the flowers, filling up the rest of the tray. Freeze again until ready to use.
If you have made several trays, it is very easy to preserve the Violet Ice Cubes by quickly transferring them to a Vacuum Saver Bag, to be sealed, and stored in the freezer till they are needed. I imagine they would keep for quite a while using this method and it may be fun to add other varieties of flowers to the bag as the seasons progress. By the end of the summer, your drinks may look as if there is an entire micro garden growing with in them. Truly, I can not imagine a more whimsical addition to a Labor Day or end of the Summer Celebration…
Also, if you are unable to make the ice cubes soon after the violets are cut, they will need to be misted often as they no longer absorb water through their stems once they have been picked.
*The Colorado State University Cooperative Extension is an excellent source of information for anyone wishing to learn a little bit more about edible flowers.