Culinary: herbal syrups

Discussion in 'Herbs for the Kitchen' started by rainin, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. rainin

    rainin Active Member

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    I was watching a gardening show the other day and one of the guests had made herbal syrup. The one she had was a lemon basil syrup and she mixed it with soda water over ice. I came in on the show to late to see how she had done it. Has anyone had any experience with making these syrups? They sound delicious.
     
  2. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    I have made a few - mint, lemon verbena, and lemon savory. My method is to wait to harvest the herb until it has buds, then harvest at about 10AM or 11 on a sunny day, for maximum flavor. Make a basic sugar syrup (any cookbook with candy recipes will have one or more of these) and let it cool while you finely chop the herb(s). Use only a glass jar or bowl, as it really does affect the flavor. Put the herbs in first and pour the still-hot, but not boiling, syrup over them. Let sit until completely cooled and then strain out the herbs right away. These will keep for a few days in the fridge. Fabulous over strawberries or peaches as well.
    I do have a "secret" which I will share that makes the syrups really sparkle with flavor, which is to add not more than 2 drops of rice vinegar to the minced herbs before pouring in the hot syrup - it seems to extract more flavor. Oh, and as in canning, make sure the jar is hot first, and put a metal spoon (stainless steel only) in the jar while you're pouring, then remove right away.
    These don't freeze at all well, but can be "canned" in pretty bottles. They make a wonderful small xmas present, or a nice addition to a home-packed basket with some green or white tea, a cute little tea ball, and a pretty mug. Since I get little baskets and nice mugs cheaply at the Goodwill, and line with a pretty fabric napkin (often found cheaply at Goodwill too), this makes a gift you would have to pay quite a bit more to send from one of those "gift basket" places. And it always make the recipient feel special to know you made something just for them!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  3. rainin

    rainin Active Member

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    Thanks Ann. Could I actually can the syrup as I do tomatoes or jelly? I am experimenting with new recipes to make the gift baskets you mentioned. These syrups will be a perfect addition to my newest jelly, wild carrot jelly made from the flowers. Also do you crush the herbs before pouring the sugar syrup over them?
     
  4. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    I find that mincing works better, but you could crush if you want, of course. That jelly sounds great - have you tried it with elderberry flowers?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  5. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    "Wild carrot" raised a flag for me. Be careful with your identification if harvesting wild flowers. Don't pick any Cicuta.
     
  6. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    Hi, rainin!
    I don't know about actually "canning" the syrup, as I usually just bottle it the way I do homemade liquors, like my apricot brandy. However, I find that once they've tried it, folks use it up pretty quickly! I suspect that the fresh taste is a big part of the flavor, and my mint stays alive most of the winter, so I can pretty much make it any time. It's in two enormous pots near the front door, sheltered by the house from the wind and raised up enough to beat what few freezes we have here.
     
  7. rainin

    rainin Active Member

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    thank you for your concern eric! i am very very careful in these matters. also, pregnant women should not consume wild carrot in any form as it enhances uterine contractions. it is however an aid for women with difficult menstrual cycles under the advice of a licensed physician if course. if i remember correctly it can be used in the treatment of diabetes. thank you ann b for the info on the elderberry flowers. i will be trying them next year. the carrot jelly is delicious. i found the recipe on the web by googling "wild carrot jelly" and using the queen anns jelly recipe. i only made 2 batches but will be making much more next summer as it is going fast. it goes very well with a nice homemade loaf of wheat bread!! my grand mother always cooked her venison with wild carrots and wild onions and would serve a nice salad full of garlic mustard. i will be trying the herbal syrup as soon as i get my seeds and get some lime basil growing. what measure of herbs do you add to a 1 c water and 1 c sugar syrup recipe? please excuse my poor typing. i have injured my fingers and am going at this with my one good finger. frustrating!!!!
     

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