Simple Syrups from the Garden

It's that time of year when the farmer's markets are bursting with fresh fruit and our garden is full of savoury herbs. With such intense flavours so close at hand, we simply can't help but preserve them in any and all ways we can imagine!

We've recently been busy making a line of colourful and delicious herbal syrups to serve as Italian Sodas at various summer events, including Lavender, Rose, Linden and Rosemary. They are simple, natural and oh so flavourful. And the best part is that you can make them right in your own kitchen!

Feeling fancy? You could also try Cherries with Basil, Blueberries with Lemongrass or Strawberries with Rose Geranium.

The only thing limiting you is your imagination!

Sweet Violet Simple Syrup

  • 60-70 fresh violet flowers (viola odorata)
  • 1 cup of berry sugar
  • 3 cups of cold water
  • Juice of 1 large lemon

Make certain your violets are clean; gently wash and pat dry if necessary. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan; stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and gently stir in the violets. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let stand for 30 minutes.

Check the flavour of the syrup, if you find it too faint, gently return the pot to a boil, remove from heat and let stand another 5 minutes.

Strain the syrup through cheesecloth or a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup. Add the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon, stir well.

Pour your syrup into glass bottles and tightly seal. (You can use a sterilized wine bottle and the plastic corks found in the u-brew section of a grocery store). You can keep this in the fridge for about 2 weeks. You could also freeze the syrup to enjoy later in the summer or bottle as a hot pack for a longer shelf life.

Cherry-Basil Simple Syrup

from the Gluten Free Girl

  • 2 cups pitted fresh cherries
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil

Combine the cherries, sugar, and basil in a large bowl. Toss them around with your hands to coat the cherries. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, put the cherry mixture into a blender or food processor, including the syrup at the bottom of the bowl. Blend the cherry mixture until it is smooth. Push the cherry puree through a fine-mesh strainer. Throw away the cherry pulp.

To make your Italian Soda you will need:

  1. herbal syrup
  2. ice
  3. sparkling mineral water

Fill your glass with ice. With a jigger, measure out syrup (about 15-30mL) and pour over ice. Slowly fill glass with sparkling water, add a fresh herb leaf of choice or a fresh strawberry as a garnish. Enjoy!

Books for botanical beverages…

The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart

Drink the Harvest by Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest

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