I have always been enchanted with the herb Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohioensis I think is the Latin). The thin, succulent leaves, like grass leaves, poke out at a pixie-like angle, and the luminous blue three-petaled flowers, each petal delicate like a fairy’s wing, whose color delights the eye and changes even as you stare, shifting between blue and purple, with glimmers of pink and deep blue and violet.
It grows in shady wayside places, and in unmowed lawns. In the gentle morning the flowers open like bright blue stars, and bloom until the hot afternoon sun makes them gradually close and wither, folding themselves back into the three-clasped calix. The old buds and the new ones dangle in a graceful clump under the just- blooming flowers, full of blue-purple juice, so fun to use for paint.
Spiderwort was the first edible plant my children knew, and so often i watched them pick the flowers in small, blue-tinged hands and eat them – the blue petals crisper than rose petals, with a hint of floral sweetness, and the unique flavor of Spiderwort, as green and spritely as itself.
The flowers must be harvested in the morning, before they close for the day. One day we didn’t get enough, but we saved them in a jar in the refrigerator and added to them the next day.
This recipe is so easy to make, my daughters have been making it all by themselves! Jars and jars on my counter, filled with purple potions.
1 quart-sized mason jar
Fresh spiderwort blossoms, with the dew still on (actually it doesn’t really have to have dew, but the flowers must be freshly blooming)
3 tablespoons raw honey
Fresh, unchlorinated water (about 1 quart)
- Pick enough fresh flowers to fill the jar half way (2 cups).
- Drizzle in the honey.
- Add the water until the jar is mostly full, with a little room at the top, say 1/4 – 1/2 inch.
- Cap the jar and let it sit out on the counter for 3-5 days. The blue color will gradually soak out of the flowers while the natural yeast and good bacteria in the honey will make the soda become bubbly and effervescent.
5. When you start to see it become bubbly, it’s ready to strain and drink. It has been hot here, so ours is ready in just a few days. The cooler the temperature is in your kitchen, the slower it will ferment. If you let it go too long it gets tart and vinegary.
6. Taste it in a few days to see how it is coming along. If it’s still just sweet like honey water, put the cap back on and leave it out another day or two longer.
7. After you strain it, chill it in the fridge. It’s most refreshing that way.
Wishing you a magical week!