Health made simple: A few herbs and you in your kitchen, preparing medicines with simple techniques as ancient as time.
Photo by Howard Lee Puckett
Makes about 2 cups
Herb syrups are wonderful flavor essences. Add them in place of the liquid in cakes, pie fillings and sorbets, or drizzle on fruit. Brush them on pound cakes, cupcakes, muffins or breads just out of the oven.
• 1 1⁄2 cups water
• 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
• About 8 to 10 herb sprigs or a large handful of leaves
1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Place over moderate heat and bring to a boil; stir to dissolve sugar. Add herbs, bruising the leaves against the side of the pan with a spoon. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
2. Remove leaves and squeeze them into the syrup to extract their flavor. Pour into a clean bottle or jar and label. This syrup can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for about 4 weeks.
3. If you want to keep the syrups for a while, pour them into jars or bottles, leaving at least an inch of headspace, place on the lids, and label. We freeze them for up to 1 year. Remove from freezer the night before using and allow to thaw, or place the bottle in a bowl of warm (not hot) water to thaw more quickly. The syrup can be re-frozen if you don’t use it all.
Susan Belsinger and Tina Marie Wilcox use herbs every day in and around their homes and greenhouses. Some of this article’s information and recipes are from their book The Creative Herbal Home (Herbspirit, 2007).
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Herbal Apothecary 101