Foraging Wild Greens: Violets

Photo of Violet Leaves

Violets (Viola spp.) are familiar garden and lawn plants with edible leaves and flowers. Russ Cohen, a wild edible plant and mushroom forager who leads walks all over Massachusetts, writes in his book that all violets are edible, but my experience is limited to the common blue violet of lawns known as Viola sororia. Young leaves can be added to salads; older, tougher leaves can be lightly cooked and incorporated into meals.

Photo of Violet Flower

I like to pinch the dark greens from their long petioles one by one and periodically pop a flower into my mouth. The flowers can be gathered in quantity for a decorative garnish or salad component, or can be used to flavor honey. For the latter, simply pack a jar with fresh blossoms, cover with raw honey, and let the combination meld for a few weeks.

3 thoughts on “Foraging Wild Greens: Violets”

    1. I can’t recommend specific locations, but I can say that Violets are common spring greens in many unsprayed suburban lawns. Look for them in areas where you find Common Dandelion. By mid-April they should be big enough to gather. Happy foraging!

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