Violet Jelly Recipe

Learn how to turn violet flowers from your backyard into a delicious homemade jelly that tastes like grape!

jars of violet jelly
Violet jelly is not only beautiful, but it’s delicious with a sweet taste that reminds you of grape jelly.

Picking Violets

Violets are often found in gardens and around the edges of houses, forming gorgeous huge patches when left unchecked. Below is a photo of a small part of the large patch growing happily all along our blackberries!

You can also find wild violets around creeks, streams, woodland edges, or under trees or shrubs. However, take care when harvesting violets in woodland areas, especially if there are only small, scattered patches. Some of these have limited populations, so it’s best to collect from the more domesticated and abundant varieties found in your yard or garden.

Violets like cool shade, suffering when exposed to too many hours of harsh, direct sunlight and overwhelming waves of summer heat, so look for them in shady or cool spots.

violets growing under a row of blackberries
These violets are growing all along a blackberry fence and are perfect for making jelly!

Pick violet flowers with your fingers, snapping just the flower heads free of their stems. The small section of green just behind the flower remains; but we don’t normally use the stem part for jelly.

Make sure to also check for bugs! Avoid picking bug-chewed or rabbit-nibbled violet blossoms, or ones you see visibly wilting. Pick flowers that look fresh, healthy, and whole.

You’ll need 2 cups of flowers for this recipe: continue picking until you’ve collected enough.

collect violet flowers
Picking flowers for spring jellies. Be sure to check out our recipes for dandelion jelly, redbud jelly, and forsythia jelly too!

Making Violet Tea for Jelly

To make floral jelly, you must first make floral tea. Violet tea, which is basically a violet infusion, turns a beautiful blue color, which doesn’t stick around throughout the jelly-making process. Once you add the lemon juice, later in the jelly making process, the blue color turns into bright pink!

Do keep in mind that violet tea needs 4 hours to steep before it can be used to make jelly. Make sure to factor this time requirement into your plans before you start pulling out your jars and water bath canner!

To make violet tea, you will need:

  • 2 cups violet flowers
  • 3 cups water
  • a pot or saucepan large enough to hold the water
  • a large heat-safe container such as a pitcher or bowl
  • a fine mesh strainer (or if you don’t have one, layer cheesecloth inside a colander)
violet tea before and after adding lemon juice
Plain violet flower tea on the left is blue or blue-green. After the lemon is added, the tea turns a bright pink color (photo on the right).

How to make the tea:

  1. Place the violet flowers in your large heat-safe container, and set aside. Heat the 3 cups of water to a boil in a large pot or saucepan.
  2. Pour the boiling water directly over the violet flowers, and give them a stir. Cover the container loosely, and set aside to steep. Container will be hot, so be careful moving it!
  3. Steep for 4 hours. If desired, you can move the container to the refrigerator any time after the 2 hour mark, but it will be fine sitting on your counter or table for the full 4 hours.
  4. After 4 hours, the tea should be a bright blue color, while the violet flower petals within should be pale and faded. Strain out the spent plant matter (make sure to squeeze it in your fingers to get every last drop of tea out!) and discard or compost it, keeping the bright blue tea.
  5. You should have roughly 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups of liquid after straining. If you taste it, it won’t taste very good at this stage! But don’t worry, and don’t toss your tea out. It’ll transform soon enough!
  6. Either use this tea immediately to make jelly, or freeze it for later use in a tight-sealing container. Frozen tea will be good for 3 months.
violet tea changes from blue to purple when lemon juice is added
Watching the color change magically before your eyes when the lemon juice is added. (Your kids will enjoy watching this part!) 😊

How to Make Violet Jelly

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups of violet tea
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about the juice contained in 1 medium-large lemon)
  • 1 pack Sure Jell low or no sugar powdered pectin (1.75 oz pink box)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar (this recipe uses white cane sugar: alternative sweeteners may affect color and set of jelly)
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon butter (to reduce foaming: add at any point during the cooking process to reduce foam)
  • Heavy-duty 6-8 quart pot or stockpot
  • Water bath canner & rack
  • Canning jars (recipe makes about 4 1/2 half-pints, or 9 4 oz small jelly jars) with fitting canning lids and rims
  • Jar lifter
  • Ladle

Instructions to Make the Jelly

Before you begin:

If you are canning your jelly, you will need to start your water bath canner before beginning.

Wash out your jars to make sure they’re completely clean, and put them in the water bath canner as it warms to sterilize. When the water comes to a boil, make sure to boil them for at least 10 minutes before using. Alternatively, you can simply run your jars through your dishwasher’s sanitize cycle, timing so it ends and the jars are still hot when you’re ready to ladle out your jelly.

Either way, make sure your water bath canner is full of boiling water to the appropriate height, and will be completely ready to use as soon as you’ve filled your canning jars. You don’t want a canner full of cold water when you’ve got jars of hot jelly that need processing!

cooking violet jelly
Jelly boils up while cooking, so make sure your pan is tall enough to allow for expansion.

Cooking the jelly:

  1. Pour the tea into 6-8 quart stockpot. If you’re using tea that was frozen for later use, either thaw it out in your refrigerator for a day until it’s wholly liquid again, or to speed up the process, just drop the frozen tea in a pot over a low burner and heat it until it’s fully melted back into a liquid tea.
  2. To the tea, add the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and stir. This will cause a dramatic color change! The violet tea starts out a vivid blue, but the acid of the lemon rapidly changes it to pink when combined. Set this aside.
  3. Measure 2 1/2 cups of sugar into a bowl. From this bowl, scoop out 1/4 of a cup of sugar, and set the bowl (which now has 2 1/4 cups of sugar in it) aside. Place that 1/4 cup of sugar in a new bowl.
  4. Add the packet of powdered pectin to the 1/4 cup of sugar, and stir to combine. Add this to the violet & lemon juice mixture in your pot, and mix. Set it all on a burner turned to high heat.
  5. Stirring constantly with a spoon or whisk, bring to rolling boil. Once it’s reached that point, stir in the remaining sugar all at once. This will stop the boiling for a moment. Return it to a full, rolling boil again, and boil for exactly one minute, still stirring constantly. If you need to add the 1/2 tsp of butter to reduce foaming, do so carefully so as not to splash yourself with the molten hot-sugar mix. The jelly will boil up rather violently- make sure your pot’s big enough to handle it!
  6. After one minute, remove from the heat. The jelly will begin to set up fast, so moving quickly (but carefully!), ladle or pour the hot jelly into your sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace at the top. Some air bubbles might form up top- you can skim those off, if you’d like.
  7. Wipe off the rims of the jelly jars with a damp rag to remove any sticky spots of spilled or splashed jelly that could interfere with sealing.
  8. Place the lids on top of the jars, and secure in place by firmly screwing on the rings.

If you are not canning your jelly, leave it where it is for the next 12 to 24 hours to cool and rest. After that, move your jelly to your refrigerator, where it will keep for about 3 weeks. Use it up before then, or freeze for several months.

If you plan to can your jelly, read on!

filling violet jelly into canning jars
Filling the jars with cooked jelly. Be careful – the jars and the jelly mixture are both hot!

How to Water Bath Can Violet Jelly

Preparation

Before you made your jelly, you should have had your water bath canner filled with water and brought to a boil, ideally with the jars you planned to use to can with set inside to heat and sterilize. The water bath canner should have enough water inside of it that it will cover all of your jars with at least 1 inch of water.

The jars inside your canner should be set on the wire rack included in the canner, with the uncovered mouths of the jars facing up. The jars themselves should be completely filled with water. By setting them like this in the canner and bringing the water inside to a hard boil, allowing it to boil for at least 10 minutes, the jars will be sterilized from their hot-water bath, and nice and hot when you pull them out.

When the jelly is ready to be ladled into jars, remove your canning jars from the water bath canner, dumping out the water inside back into the canner, and place the hot jars onto a towel. Leave the water bath canner as it is- don’t turn off the heat.

Filling & Canning

Follow the instructions above for filling your jelly jars and securing the lids and rings. Make sure to check that the rings are firmly secured.

If you happen to only have a half or partially filled jar of jelly, set this aside and do not can it: partially filled jars do not perform well when canned.

Once filled and completely secured, lower the jars carefully one-by-one into the water bath canner with a jar lifter. Once all jars have been submerged (make sure they’re covered by at least 1 inch of water) cover with the water bath canner lid.

Bring the water inside back to a full boil. Water-bath can the jars for 10 minutes.

After these 10 minutes of processing, turn off the heat, remove the lid, and lift the jars out from the water bath canner. You can use a jar lifter, or carefully lift out the entire wire rack by the handles. Whatever you choose, be careful! The water is boiling hot- make sure not to burn yourself!

jars of violet jelly
Capture the taste of spring with this homemade violet jelly!

Let Cool

Place the jars on a folded towel to catch the water. Leave them there to cool, undisturbed, for 12-24 hours. You might hear some popping noises, even as you pull the jars out the water, maybe after they’ve been sitting a while- that’s a good thing! That ‘pop’ is the sound of a successfully sealed jar.

12-24 hours later, your jellies will be completely cooled. Store them away in your pantry or storeroom as desired. Unsealed jellies that didn’t have their seal take need to be stored in the refrigerator, and should be used within 3 weeks.

(Tip: Remove the rings before storing jars of jelly so they won’t get rusty.)

Shelf Life & Storing Violet Jelly

Successfully canned violet jelly is shelf stable and will remain good in your pantry or storeroom for 1 year.

Once the seal is broken and the jar is open, store the jar in your refrigerator. Use within 3 weeks of opening.

row of spring flower jellies
Flower jellies left to right: Dandelion Jelly, Redbud Jelly, Forsythia Jelly, and Violet Jelly. (All recipes are on our Unruly Gardening website!) 😊

FAQs

What does violet jelly taste like?

Violet jelly has a delightful and light flavor with a grapey fruity note to its flavor- rather unexpected from a flower jelly!

What can I do with my violet jelly?

Use it like any other jelly! It’s delicious spread on toast or an English muffin. The light, sweet, gently-fruity taste makes this a wonderful jelly for breakfasts. Some more jelly-heavy ways to potentially use your jelly could be things like jelly-roll cakes, or jelly-filled donuts, or thumbprint cookies.

Can I use violet leaves in my jelly if I don’t have enough flowers?

No. While you could eat a violet leaf if you so desire – the leaves are edible and are often used in medicinal projects, such as this soothing cough syrup – this recipe should be made with only violet flowers for best color and taste.

If you don’t have enough flowers to make this jelly, half or quarter the recipe. A half recipe only needs 1 cup of flowers to make 2 half pints of jelly, while a quarter recipe will only take 1/2 of a cup to make 1 half pint jar of jelly, or 2 4 oz jelly jars.

Can I make anything else with violets?

Yes! Many things can be made with violets. On the edible side, the flowers can be candied or made into syrup. They can also be frozen into ice cubes, made into lemonade, infused into vinegar… the list goes on!

On the herbal medicinal side, violets make soothing salves and lip balms. Not only that, but you can add them to honey to make a tonic, or to aloe to soothe irritated skin! Want more projects? Take a look at 10+ Things to Make With Violets– an article over on our sister site, The Nerdy Farm Wife.

jars of violet jelly

Violet Jelly

Learn how to turn violet flowers from your backyard into a delicious homemade jelly that tastes grape-like!
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Course: Jams & Jellies
Keyword: jelly, reduced sugar pectin, violet flowers
Total Time: 6 hours
Servings: 4.5 half-pints

Equipment

  • a saucepan for boiling 3 cups of water
  • heatproof pitcher or container, for infusing violet flowers
  • a strainer, to strain the flower infusion
  • heavy-duty 6-8 quart pot or stockpot
  • a bowl that will hold 2 1/2 cups of sugar
  • heavy-duty 6-8 quart pot or stockpot
  • an equal sized or slightly smaller bowl
  • 5 half-pint jars, or 9 four-ounce jars (will fill around 4 1/2 half pint jars)
  • ladle, for spooning hot jelly into hot jars
  • water bath canner with rack, if canning your jelly

Ingredients

For the Violet Flower Tea (Infusion)

  • 2 cups violet flowers
  • 3 cups water

For the Violet Jelly

  • 2 1/2 cups violet flower tea
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 box Sure-Jell no or low sugar needed pectin (1.75 oz pink box)
  • 1/2 tsp butter (optional, to add at any point during cooking to reduce foam in your jelly)

Instructions

To Make the Violet Flower Tea (Infusion)

  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan
  • While the water heats, place the violet flowers into a heatproof container or pitcher.
  • Pour the boiling water over the flowers.
  • Cover the container with a saucer or plate, and steep for 4 hours.
  • After 4 hours, the tea should be a bright or dark blue or teal color.
  • Strain out the spent plant matter (make sure to squeeze it in your fingers to get every last drop of tea out!)
  • You should have roughly 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups of liquid after straining.
  • Either use this tea immediately to make jelly, or freeze it for later use in a tight-sealing container. Frozen tea will be good for 3 months.
  • If you taste it, it won’t taste very good at this stage! But don’t worry, and don’t toss your tea out. It’ll transform soon enough!

To Make the Violet Jelly

  • If you're water bath canning, start heating the water in your canner.
  • Heat your jars by keeping them in the water bath canner, a pot of boiling water, or your dishwasher set to sanitize cycle. (You want them hot when pouring in hot jelly, or they could crack.)
  • Add the lemon juice to the tea. (Enjoy watching the moment the color changes in front of your eyes!)
  • Add the tea and lemon juice to the heavy stockpot.
  • Measure 2 1/2 cups of sugar into a bowl.
  • Scoop out 1/4 cup of that sugar and place it into a new bowl.
  • Add the pack of pectin to the smaller bowl of sugar (containing 1/4 cup) and stir well.
  • Add this to the violet & lemon juice mixture in your pot, and mix. Set it all on a burner turned to high heat.
  • Stir constantly until the mixture reaches a full rolling boil.
  • Add the remaining sugar and return it to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  • Boil for one minute, still stirring constantly. The jelly will boil up significantly at this point.
  • After one minute, remove the pot from the heat.
  • Working quickly but carefully, remove the hot jars onto a towel, and ladle or pour the hot jelly mixture into them.
  • If you plan to water bath can your jelly, leave a 1/4 inch headspace at the top of each jar.
  • Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel. This removes sticky reside that might keep the jar from sealing well.
  • Cover each jar with a lid and screw the ring on firmly.
  • Once cool, store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks OR for longer storage of 1 year, water bath can your jelly.

To Water Bath Can Violet Jelly

  • After filling the jars, and adding the lids/rings, carefully lower them into the hot water of a water bath canner. (Use a canning rack if available, or a canning jar lifter.)
  • Cover the canner with its lid.
  • Heat the water to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Boil the jars, with the lid on the canner, for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the lid carefully (watch for steam!), and remove the jars.
  • Place the jars on a towel and leave them undisturbed for at least 12 to 24 hours.

Shelf Life of Violet Jelly

  • Any jars that don't seal should be kept in the refrigerator and used within 3 weeks. Successfully sealed jars are shelf-stable and can be stored for 1 year. Once opened, refrigerate and use within 3 weeks.

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