Tis the Season

I fear you may be getting tired of The Chez Violence Parade of Herby Goodness.  But alas, it’s not all knitting all the time around these parts, and lately, this has been what I’m up to.  So, under the My Blog, My Rules dictum, it’s what I’m inflicting on you.  Fear not, there is yarn in the offing, and it will show up soon.  But in the meantime, on with the plants.

If you were around last summer, you may remember the herb simple syrups that became something of an obsession.  I decided I needed more.  We did both lavender and sage individually last year.  This year I wanted to try a lavender mint combo.  This is, if possible, even easier than the herb salts.

I only wanted a jar of the syrup (wanted to make sure I liked it before I committed too much), so I got a medium handful each of mint and lavender.  You can see I’m using the lavender leaves, not the flowers.  I think they taste better, and I wanted to leave the flowers for the bees.  I also grabbed about a cup and a half of sugar.

It all goes in the pot.  I held all the herbs together and sort of twisted them (think of wringing out a wash cloth) to bruise them and help release all their yummy smells before I tossed them in.

Then I added about 2 cups of water (you don’t need to be all that precise), turned on the heat, gave it a stir, and waited for the sugar to dissolve and it to come to a boil.  Once it did, I turned off the heat and let it sit and steep for a while (about 4 hours).  Strain it into a jar and you’re good to to.

Now, there are two schools of thought on this.  You can either boil the sugar and water ahead of time and toss the herbs in right at the end, or you can put the herbs in from the beginning.  Having them in from the beginning gives a slightly greener taste, and putting them in at the end is a bit more floral.  Both are good, try both out and see which you prefer.  Either way, be sure to let the herbs steep (I’ve even done it overnight) to make the flavor nice and strong.

We took it to a friend’s house and made drinks (1 part syrup, 1 part lemon juice, 2 parts gin, top it off with fizzy water) and used the whole jar up in a night.  I officially recommend it, and we will be making more.