This week, we're going to focus on something easy and sweet. Something perfect for all the hot summer weather that's approaching in July. And something you may never have tried before: herbal simple syrup.
One of my favorite ways to get the most from summer herbs is to make simple syrups. You can use simple syrup to flavor selzer water, sweeten iced tea or lemonade, or even coffee. You can use the syrup to create an interesting herbal dressing for fruit salad (imagine melon balls soaked in mint or basil syrup), homemade ice pops, a fruit soup (strawberry soup with lemon verbena, maybe?), or a fruit and herb sorbet (blackberry basil? vanilla tarragon?). And the syrup adds an amazing layer of flavor when drizzled over a simple bundt cake or sprinkled between the layers of a sponge cake before frosting.
The Good News
There's nothing particularly complicated about making simple syrup, and infusing your syrup with herbal flavors is easy as pie. All you need is sugar, water, and a few sprigs of your favorite herb. The usual ratio of sugar to water is 1:1. This mixture must be kept in the refrigerator and is best used up within a month. However, if you increase the sugar content (2:1), the mixture becomes stable for storage at room temperature and will last for up to 6 months (more info here). This would be my preferred method for syrups I'd like to keep for an extended period of time.
The (maybe not so) Bad News
On the one hand, you'll have all sorts of great new ideas up your sleeve for entertaining. On the other hand, you'll be tempted to make all sorts of sugary treats once you happen upon your favorite herbal combination. And THAT might pose some not-so-great news for your waistline. For example, the last time we made our infusions, we went a little crazy over our discovery of Iced Coffee with Lemon Verbena Syrup. (Lemon and coffee may seem like a far-fetched combo, but it's really quite delicious!)
Vodka Rosemary Fizz after a long day at work.
The Master Recipe: Herb Infused Simple Syrup
And here are even more resources for you to explore, if you want to do some experimenting:
- Habiscus Lemon Balm Ice Pops from Tallgrass Kitchen
- Why not try Lemonade with Simple Syrup - Homemade Lemonade from Paula Deen
- Drinks Using Simple Syrup - Bar None Drinks
- Summer Drinks Using Flavored Simple Syrups - Dallas Morning News
- Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Mint and Basil Vinaigrette - Giada De Laurentiis
©BURP! Where Food Happens