By Jackie Flaten
Inspired by the EatAtBurp site (great find, by the way!), I am compelled to experiment with simple syrups infused with herbs. The garden is gloriously overgrown and the herbs are in danger of going to seed. Trying to find creative new uses for basil, sage, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm and, my favorite, lemon verbena.
The basil is definitely being appreciated. We’ve been eating our favorite summer salad often practically ’round the clock – California Caprese — with the California being an ample layer of avocados. Also made Francis Lam’s amazing weapons-grade ratatouille and used plenty of thyme and basil. A blackberry sorbet with a basil-infused simple syrup — OH MY… Delicious.
The latest successful concoction was an amazing Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup. My dear neighbors have a gigantic lemon verbena shrub they regularly try to subdue with all manner of pruning and hacking, but that baby just keeps coming back stronger than ever. Thankfully. My many attempts at growing one of these shrubs have been abject failures.
So I’m always looking for ways to use this heavenly scented herb. The first time I smelled it, I almost swooned. I love lemon, lemon balm… But the Lemon Verbena struck me (and still does after constant almost-demented sniffing of the crushed leaves) as lemony-cotton candy-something-magical.
I keep leaves in a jug of water to inspire more H20 imbibing, and I’ve tucked a few leaves in a little covered jar of sugar for sprinkling here and there.
Next plan a savory sweet syrup for meat glaze… perhaps rosemary and sage? In any case, an herbal syrup is summer in a bottle. The Burp link tells you how to make it and I’m doing the 2:1 ratio so it keeps longer.