Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Children in the Garden - Violet (pH Indicator) Jelly


While violas come in a plethora of colors, I always think purple are the prettiest.

It turns out it's anthocyanin, that gives violas (or violets as they're sometimes called) their vibrant colors. Anthocyanin is also the pigment adding some of the color to fall leaves, red cabbage, and poinsettias at Christmastime.  And, anthocyanin just happens to be a pretty good pH indicator.

Which means, if you pull the petals off the flowers (after you wash them), and place them in a cup...


...of boiling water...


...so that the pigment seeps out of the petals and into the water...


...a really cool process to watch in and of itself...


...after a couple of hours, you will have a very pretty blue green liquid.  And, if you add an acid to it...


...like say, lemon juice...


...it will turn pink - or bright violet if you used about quadruple the number of petals we did...


...and then you might consider adding it to sugar - a lot of sugar - as in 2 cups of sugar to one cup of viola water mixed with 1/8 cup of lemon juice...


...because then, you can bring it to a rolling boil, add half a package of liquid pectin (about 1.5 oz), and continue boiling for another couple of minutes...


...turning your viola water into violet jelly (you can find a real recipe, here).  We didn't have enough violas on hand, so to keep our jelly from being an almost clear, pale pink, we added one drop of red and one drop of blue food coloring, as we brought the liquid to a boil.  It's a little less "natural" that way...


...but with all the sugar already in there, I figured a drop or two of food coloring wouldn't matter much.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

7 comments:

Ticia said...

how'd it taste?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Ticia - Like very sweet lemonade on toast :)

Ticia said...

interesting........ I wouldn't have guessed that.

Christy said...

Interesting experiment!

Phyllis said...

It is a very pretty jelly!

Raising a Happy Child said...

Wow, it looks amazing. Too bad we don't have any violas in our garden.

Annie said...

Purple cabbage works really well as a pH indicatoe, as well. Not as yummy, though!