Have you had a chance to visit our Garden to Glass educational display at the Minnesota State Fair yet? We have lots of information about using herbs, vegetables and fruits in beverages: smoothies, cocktails, mocktails and more. Four special recipes were developed for us by Quincy Street Kitchen and you can get those when you visit our booth. But, if you can’t get to the fair yet, we have some bonus recipes, including this easy herbal simple syrup you can make with whichever herbs you like.
It’s more of a method than a recipe, so here goes:
Herbal Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Herbs of your choice
To make the herbal simple syrup, mix the sugar and water in a pan and bring it to a boil so the sugar is completely dissolved. When it’s boiling away, turn off the heat, add a handful of herbs of your choice, cover the pan and let it steep. Which herbs? Mint is a natural. I love lemon balm. You could use basil, too, for a more savory flavor or rosemary for something really interesting. Of course, lavender is lovely. Other ingredients to add would include ginger slices or for a kick, how about a slice or two of hot peppers? I often add the zest of a lemon or lime to the herbal simple syrup and then squeeze the juice into whatever I’m adding the syrup to. The options are endless. After your syrup is steeped, strain the herbs out and store the simple syrup in the refrigerator.
While this is the basic recipe, you can adjust the sugar/water ratios. If I’m making the herbal simple syrup for iced tea (delicious!) and I don’t want it to be super sweet, I’ll mix only one-half cup of sugar with the cup of water. Or, you can go the other way and make it more intense by adding 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water.
Get creative! For more creative ideas, don’t forget to visit us in the Dirt Wing of the Horticulture Building at the state fair! In addition to recipes, we have books, tools, fun T-shirts and the opportunity to join or renew your membership in MSHS. See you at the fair!