Taste Buds Cookbook Recipe

Violets are Edible and a Violet Pesto Recipe!

Wild blue violets are one of the first flowers to pop up in your spring garden. The beautiful deep blue flowers and heart-shaped leaves of the violet plants provide a wealth of benefits including culinary and medicinal applications. The wild violets that occur across Canada and the US are known as Viola Odorata.

Violets have many medicinal uses, especially as a blood cleanser, respiratory remedy, and lymphatic stimulant which reduces swelling in the lymph nodes. Violets have traditionally been used as a remedy for dry hacking cough, bronchitis and whooping cough.

Leaves and flowers are edible and there are over 500 species in the world, some of which have a sweet scent. Use the common blue violet flowers and leaves in salads, sandwiches and pesto. They can be candied and frozen into ice cubes.

The delicate flowers of the violet are edible. Be sure to rinse really well under cold water to remove dirt and bugs that have decided to call your violet patch home. You can add violet flowers to salad for a splash of colour. It’s precisely this vibrant colour that makes them a valuable ingredient as they impart their brilliant blue to infusions. Add a couple of violets to vinegar and leave it to infuse. The violets add not only colour, but fragrance too. This vinegar can be used over salads or in homemade all-purpose cleaners.

Candied violets were a Victorian delicacy that can still add a romantic beauty to your baking. Collect fresh flowers with the stem on and rinse thoroughly. Using a paintbrush, cover a flower in egg white, then sprinkle front and back with castor sugar. Remove the stems and leave to dry overnight. You can store them in an airtight container but place a sheet of parchment paper between layers so they don’t stick to each other.

Violet Pesto

1 Cup violet leaves and flowers

1 Cup dandelion greens

1 Cup basil leaves

1/4 Cup walnuts

½ Cup pine nuts

4 Whole garlic cloves

3/4 Cup olive oil

Salt to taste

Blend to a paste in a food processor


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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