Foraged : Violet Leaf Salad - Fresh! Available! & Grown in the Sun!

This is a salad I grew up with. I remember my mom collecting the leaves & cleaning them, but mostly I remember her enjoying the salad. I would enjoy it with her, but I don't think I truly appreciated it until adulthood. Now that I'm aware of real food, demand good food full of flavor, & know that our diets should contain far more variety than it does, I see this dish a a real treat - for my health and my tastebuds.

Violets are wild growing & edible. The leaves are heart-shaped and are a mild tasting. The nodding blooms come in a variety of colors like  purple, blue, white and yellow and are also edible. The common violet is packed with nutritional & medicinal value. 

Violet leaves and flowers are full of minerals and vitamins, especially A and C. The leaves are tasty both raw and cooked, with a bland flavor & and have a slight mucilage, sticky texture . Great to add to salads for a nutritious boost. The flowers are sweet and tangy, and are so pretty to add to salads & desserts - they make it feel fancy!

Medicinally, violet is a gentle but powerful remedy. It is classified as a blood purifier, which means it helps the body restore optimal functioning by aiding metabolic processes, especially the elimination of waste products. Violet stimulates the lymphatic glands, helping the body get rid of bacteria and other toxins. It is especially useful for swollen glands. Over time, violet can help clear stubborn problems like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. 

Taking Violet after a long winter is a wonderful way to get our bodies ready for a healthy and energetic Spring. 

Violet also supports the immune system, helping to clear infections of all kinds. Soothing and cooling, it helps reduce fever and inflammation. It can be useful in treating sinus infections, bronchitis, sore throats and coughs. 

Violets are native to central and eastern US & Canada and can be found nearly everywhere in the US. They are easy to collect - just clip the fibrous stem close to the leaf, you don't want to eat that. Collect enough for the servings you want and rinse & agitate several times in a colander under running water. From experience, it is easier to clip from the stem while collecting. Otherwise you'll spend a lot of time cleaning and sorting. Be sure to pick some of the flowers as well!

Do a rough chop of your clean leaves. Dice tomato & onion. Toss together in a bowl.  Squeeze the juice from a lemon over the salad and toss again - coating everything. Optional - add a pinch of salt & pepper.  Enjoy the flavors! You can literally taste the sunshine! 

Revel in mother nature and how cool you are that you just found your own food and it's sooo good for you!  

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