Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup0
Yesterday was amazingly sunny and warm. Today is rainy and warm, but I’m not complaining, because these are great conditions for my spring garden! As I traipse back and forth from the house to the garden I’ve noticed that the violet blossoms are basically gone for the season. Meanwhile, I keep reminding myself that I need to make time to harvest more of the leaves before my ‘real’ garden kicks into full gear. I plan to dehydrate about 4 cups of them for use later in the year. Did you know that 140 ml (a little less than 2/3 cup) of violet leaves has the same amount of vitamin C as four oranges? I’d say that makes this edible “weed” pretty valuable! Not to mention that the sweet-smelling blossoms are great for many things as well. So far we’ve turned them into jelly (violet velly) and dye-free sprinkles for baking. For today’s post I want to share my final sweet violet recipe for the year – honey and violet cough syrup.
The original recipe calls for raw honey. Raw honey is beneficial because “it has high levels of antioxidant and is also found to have expectorant, anti-allergic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.” Unfortunately most honey purchased at the store is not raw but pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of heating honey (or other substances) hot enough to kill bacteria. However during the pasteurization process many of the beneficial enzymes in honey are also destroyed.
If you’re making this recipe with raw honey, you’ll want to be sure not to heat the mixture above 110 degrees, thus avoiding the destruction of those enzymes. As a result, your cough syrup will have a shelf life of 1 month (stored with a lid in the refrigerator). If you go this route, I recommend dehydrating a stash of violet leaves so that you can make future batches even when fresh leaves are unavailable (think winter).
If you’re more of a set-it-and-forget-it person who wants to make a large batch now for gradual use through the year – or if you’re working with honey that has already been pasteurized – you may want to try canning your cough syrup. Please keep in mind that I am not a canning expert! You should consult an expert before you try canning this cough syrup. However, since honey itself doesn’t spoil and I have personally canned syrup (another high-sugar-content food) I’m comfortable with giving it a try. I heated mine until it boiled (about 130*) and then poured it into a sterilized jar. Within about five minutes it sent me that glorious pinging message that it had sealed. (Pinging is the sound the lid makes when it seals; the lid is also taught after sealing and doesn’t bounce back when pressed.) Be sure to refrigerate your cough syrup after opening it.
Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup
Prep Time: 5 Min Hands-On Time: 10 Min Chill Time: 12 Hrs
- ½ cup violet leaves
- ½ cup + 2 tbs cold water
- 1 cup honey (preferably raw)
- 1 – 2 teaspoons for children; 1 tablespoon for adults up to five times a day as needed
- Rinse the leaves and spin in salad spinner to remove dirt
- Soak leaves overnight in cold water
- In the morning, simmer the mixture for 15 minutes on low heat. Strain the leaves from the mixture and return the liquid to the sauce pan
- Add honey to the violet leaf tea
- For Raw Honey: Over very low heat (no warmer than 110 degrees) stir the honey and tea together until they are fully blended. Do not let the mixture simmer or boil or you will destroy the benefits of the raw honey.For Pasteurized Honey: Over low heat stir the honey and tea together until they are blended. Gradually increase the temperature and stir constantly until the mixture reaches a light boil (approximately 130*). Immediately remove from heat.
- Pour the mixture into a sterilized jar and tightly add a lid. For raw honey, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. For pasteurized honey/boiled syrup, allow the jar to cool on the counter until you hear the lid seal (it will make a pinging noise). The sealed lid will not bounce back when pressed. NOTE: I am not a canning expert so as an extra precaution, you may want to refrigerate even the sealed jar of cough syrup. Refrigerate your canned cough syrup after opening.