About Me

My photo
A young and slightly ignorant woman who has always loved baking and cooking, I want to make people happy with food as often as I can. I'm here to whisk away and explore!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nothing Better Than a Garden: Homemade Herb Syrups


Is there any place better than a garden?
I don't know, I think I would be hard pressed to find one. Except maybe a tea house, or a forest, a sledding hill, a big bed full of fresh fluffy pillows, a hammock in the sun, a cliff looking over a sea...
Okay. So an herb garden is one of many perfect places.

But really, try and be unhappy when you take a handful of something herb-y and crush it in your fingers. It's impossible.
There is a monstrous bush of mint in the back yard. It really is huge. Gigantor, King of the Mint. There isn't anything that's bigger, unless it's the bush of lemon balm.
A month or so ago my sister and I tied bundles and bundles of the herbs and hung them to dry on racks.

11 bundles of lemon balm? What on earth am I going to do with all that lemon balm? 9 bundles of Mint? A person can only drink so much tea before going crazy. (I can't believe I said that. I never thought my limits of tea drinking would be tested. But here we are.)

So I brainstormed and eventually set out to make syrup. Syrup is great fun. It smells awesome and you can use it in so many things.
Coffee drinks
Mixed Drinks
Iced Tea
Plain old Club Soda
((Also, everything always looks prettier in jars. It's a well known fact of life.))

Really, anytime you want to feel homemade and herbaceous you can add it to whatever your eating/drinking at the time and be awesome. You'll feel like Martha Stewart except not creepy and way cooler. (Am I allowed to say that? Because I do think that Martha is creepy and un-cool. I hope that's okay with everybody because c'mon. That fixating glued on smile and even-toned Stepford wife voice thing? Creeps me out. Heebie Jeebie levels off the charts stuff.)

Herb Syrups
3 cups water
3 cups sugar
3 cups of packed dried herbs or spices (mint, lemon balm, lavender, rosemary, cinnamon sticks, whole anise seeds, basil, ginger root, or rose petals)
For lemon balm syrup, you can also add lemon slices or lemon juice, depending on your preference.

Also, a drop of green food coloring will make the mint syrup a pretty color if you don't want them all to look too similar.
In a high sided pot bring sugar and water to a boil. Lower heat to low-medium and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear about 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly! No burning sugar, that's no fun.
Add your herbs (and fruit slices if that's the route you're going. I used four small lemons sliced and one lemon's juice.) and simmer an additional minute.

Strain the syrup through a cheesecloth lined sieve and ladle into jars or bottles. You can choose not to line the sieve with cheesecloth, but you'll have a few leafy bits swirling around on the bottom of your jar. They don't harm anything, but if you want to avoid them for presentation purposes, stick with your cloth o' cheese.
Refrigerated, these will keep for 6 months. On the counter it's best not to keep them out for more than a week.

No comments:

Post a Comment