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Dharma Kitchen

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How to Make a Simple Syrup with Lemon Verbena

Carrie H

Making a simple syrup is as easy as its name. And lemon verbena is one of the best candidates out there for the job. Hence: a lemon verbena simple syrup.

Now, the question is, why would you do this? Think of a simple syrup as a flavor shot, a flavor boost. Simple syrups often find their way into your finest cocktails or get infused into a bowl of whipped cream, or are drizzled over fresh fruit salads or desserts. I went through a spell a while back where I was making rhubarb version regularly and turning it into a soda; just combine it with seltzer and a squeeze of lime, and you're good to go. I've also done mint and ginger simple syrups, but the possibilities are infinite. 

I know the recipe says 1/4 cup and this measuring cup says 1/2. It's actually 1/2 full. I couldn't find my 1/4 cup.

I know the recipe says 1/4 cup and this measuring cup says 1/2. It's actually 1/2 full. I couldn't find my 1/4 cup.

You can make as much or as little of it as you need; typically the ratio of sugar to water is the same. Here, I've provided instructions for a lemon verbena version, simply because I wanted to use up the bit that I had from a friend (thanks, Donna!) I'm now wishing I had lemon verbena, not lemon balm, all over my yard. The leaves were starting to dry out a little bit in my hot kitchen, despite the fact that I had them in some water, but never fear: they were still loaded with fragrance and oils. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon verbena leaves, chopped and crushed to release their oils

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a simmer, stirring occasionally to help dissolve the sugar. Add the crushed verbena and remove the pot from the heat. Let it steep for 15-20 minutes and then transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely. When you're ready to use it, strain out the leaves into a small jar or bottle; I like to use my Good Seasons salad dressing jars I inherited from my mom. Simple syrup keeps for an awfully long time. 

The lighting in my kitchen was sort of odd yesterday morning--the pot is imbued with this weird tungsten-y light. Go figure.