Violet lemonade is a stunning pink lemonade made with edible violets ~ it magically turns from blue to pink!
violet lemonade is refreshing and gorgeous!
If you’ve got spring violets growing around you this is a fun project that results in a unique lemonade. Some call this magical color change lemonade because the acidity of the lemons causes the blue violet infusion to turn to a vivid pink.
What does it taste like? Depending on your violets it will either impart a slight grassy ‘grape’ taste to your lemonade, or it won’t alter the flavor at all. Either way you’ll get that glorious color and a fabulously refreshing drink.
what you’ll need
- fresh violet flowers (no leaves or stems) See below for how to find and identify them.
- a mason jar with lid or small nonreactive saucepan such as steel or glass
all violets are edible
All violets are edible, but there are over 100 varieties, and they do vary. (Note that African violets are not part of the violet family, despite the name.) Some violets are scented, some have no aroma. Some of deep purple, some white, or paler blue. Violets are related other edible flowers that I love: pansies and violas. If you love them too, you have to try my Pansy Topped Shortbread Cookies or my Pansy Salad.
where to find them
In the early spring you may see them growing in lawns, fields, parks, woods, near rivers and along the side of the road. They also grow among cultivated flowers in gardens, and they thrive in most parts of the country because they’re a native species. They’re a low maintenance ground cover and good for the ecosystem, so consider planting violets in your yard. Depending on the variety they can grow in full sun to full shade.
The violets I harvested from my backyard are the common blue violet. We had so many this year I decided it was time to explore their culinary uses.
safety note: gathering and foraging wild edibles is fun and safe when you know what you’re doing. Make sure you can identify the plants that you are picking, and don’t pick from roadsides or anywhere where pesticides have been used. All violets are edible, but they should not be eaten in large quantities because they contain saponin, which can cause digestive upset if you eat enough of them. But a glass of violet lemonade or a few blossoms on your spring salad won’t cause any issues, so no worries there.
how to make a violet infusion for lemonade
- Pick the flowers in the late morning, if possible, after the dew has dried but before the hot sun has hit. Gently pluck just the flowers from their delicate stems. If you cannot source enough blossoms for your project in one outing you can refrigerate the flowers or even freeze so they will stay fresh while you gather more.
- I like to rinse and spin my violets in a salad spinner first, then I load them into a mason jar.
- Pour boiling water over the flowers, right up to the top of the jar. Cap and let sit for 24 hours, giving the jar a shake now and then. A quicker method is to put the flowers in a small saucepan with a cup and a half of water. Bring to a simmer and simmer for a few minutes, then let sit for about an hour or two.
- An alternative method that works faster is to simmer the flowers and water on the stove.
- Strain the flowers and discard. Refrigerate your infusion until ready to use.
to make violet lemonade
My method is simple…I made a classic lemonade with fresh squeezed lemons, some sugar, and filtered water. Then I add the violet infusion until it turns a vivid pink. Feel free to add as much or as little violet as you like!
Chill and the pour over ice, add a lemon slice and a few fresh violet blossoms for a very special refresher.
what makes the violet color change from blue to pink?
The color in violets is ph sensitive (ph is the measure of how acidic a solution is.) When you steep them in water, which is ph 7, or neutral, the color is a beautiful blue. But when you add that to lemonade, which is a ph 2.4, or acidic, the color changes to a bright pink! It seems like magic, but it’s just chemistry.
more edible spring botanicals
- Honeysuckle Vodka Lemonade
- Lilac Sugar Shortbread
- How to Make Pansy Topped Shortbread Cookies
- Spring Salad with Edible Flowers
- Honeysuckle Ice Cream
Wild Violet Lemonade
- 2 cups freshly picked violets, gently rinsed
- 1 qt water
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp sugar, or more to taste
to make the violet infusion
- Put freshly picked violet flowers (no stems or leaves) into a stainless steel saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water. Bring up to a simmer and simmer for a few minutes until the water is a vivd blue. Strain the flowers out. Chill your infusion. Note: you can also do this by pouring boiling water over the flowers in a mason jar. It will take longer for the violets to infuse.
- Mix the lemon juice with the sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add to the water and taste to adjust it to your liking. Add half the violet infusion to the lemonade and watch it change to a vibrant pink! You can add more of the infusion if you like, or save the rest for a second batch.
- Chill the lemonade (without ice) until cold. Serve over ice.