[Sca-cooks] Edible Violet Water?

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Wed Aug 26 17:15:37 PDT 2009

But violet water or water of violets does turn up in English cookery and 
medicinal recipes.
  A quick search this evening yielded over 120 quick matches in just 
Here are a few of them:

In an hote season it is good to temper the sayd wine with a litle
rosewater or of violettes. Some other take .v houres afore diner, thre
times a weke, the weight of half a crowne of mithridatum, or of fine
treacle, tempered in a litle good wine. But in time of heat and for hote
complexions, it is good to put in it a litle conserua roses, & to mingle
them with water of sorell, or of borage, or of buglosse.

Goeurot, Jean. The regiment of life, whereunto is added a treatise of
the pestilence, with the boke of children, newly corrected and enlarged
by T. Phayre. 1550

Thomas Moffett Healths improvement calls for "Take of Orenge flower
water, water of Violets". It was published in 1655, but written in the
1590?s . Moffett died in 1604.

Recipes like this one are more common. Here you make in essence a violet
before making the syrup.

To make Syrupe of Violets.

TAke your Violets, and pick the flowers, and weigh them, and then put
them into a quart of water, and steepe them vpon hot embers, vntill such
time as the flowers be turned white, and the water as blew as any
violet, then take to that quart of infusion and take foure pound of
clarified Suger, & boyle it till it come to a syrupe, scumming them and
boyling them vpon a gentle fire, least it turne his colour, and being
boyled, put the Syrupe vp and keepe it.

A closet for ladies and gentlevvomen. 1608


In the 1616 Maison rustique, or The countrey farme, Markham talks
about "the water of Violets"and again in 1623 in Countrey
contentments. "Syrup of violets" shows up in The English Housewife.

1620 VENNER Via Recta vii. 125 If there be neede of cooling with Rose,
or Violet~water and Sugar.


A "pound and an half of white Sugar, dissolved in Rose or Violetwater"
is called for in the 1649 A physicall directory.


The queen-like closet by Hannah Wolley has recipes for violet conserves
and syrup, but no violet water.

191. To make the Capon-water against a Consumption.

Take a Capon, the Guts being pull'd out, cut it in pieces, and take away
the Fat, boyl it in a close Vessel in a sufficient quantity of
spring-water: Take of this Broath three pints, of Barrage, and
Violet-water a pint and a half, White-Wine one pint, Red-Rose leaves two
drams and an half, Burrage-Flowers, Violets, and Bugloss, of each one
Dram, pieces of bread out of the Oven half a pound, Cinamon bruised,
half an Ounce; still it in a Glass still, according to Art.

This is a sovereign Remedy against Hectick-Fevers, and Consumptions; let
such as are subject to those Diseases, hold it as a Jewel.

The Accomplish'd lady's delight. 1675.


Although it is late, I just have to include this definition as found in 
An English dictionary by Elisha Coles. 1677.

He defines that far older confection Manus Christi as

Manus Coristi, Sugar boild with Rose-water,(sometime violet or Cinnamon

(There are a number of violet recipes by the way in Martha Washington's 
Booke of Cookery too and of course in the Concordance there's that 
rather interesting Vyolet recipe which is a violet pottage. It's there
in 3 recipes.)

Hope this helps


Elise Fleming wrote:
> >
> I'm aware of violet sugar from around the 13th c. but don't recall 
> reading anything about violet water in the English recipes.
> Alys K.

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