Thursday, July 25, 2013


Last Friday I shared pics of my harvest. I'm sure that I need to get back to the garden to harvest again; however, it is fair week here in my little town and all else stops as everyone enjoys the fair and for me personally as I support the various organizations I belong to that have food booths at the fair. If I don't forget this evening, I want to take some pictures of the herb competition at the fair; perhaps I'll share those next week.

I want to share one more way I have of preserving my harvest that keeps me going throughout the year. I started several years ago making herbal and fruit syrups. Here is a picture of my current collection of syrups.

The two bottles in the front are what I made after my harvest last week. A mint syrup and a ginger syrup. The others are what I've made over the past several weeks and include rose syrup, lavender syrup, lime syrup, cherry syrup, and blueberry syrup.

Making the syrups are very easy, it can just be a bit sticky as you are working with a sugar water.

I start with 5 quarts of water and 5 pounds of sugar. I place both into my large soup pot and put it on the stove to simmer. Here you can see it as it starts.
I let it simmer until it is about half of what I started with.

At this point I turn off the heat and let it cool down a bit. I usually then divide it into 2 large bowls and add whatever I want to flavor it with. This time mint
and ginger root
The amount of the herb or fruit used is very dependent on how strong you want the syrup. For the mint I used 2 large handfuls of my cuttings and for the ginger I used 2 medium root pieces. The ginger you can see I sliced; however for the mint I did nothing but add it to the syrup.

I put a small plate on top of the herb or fruit to keep it submersed in the syrup, covered with saran wrap and let it soak for about 48 hrs.
I then strain the syrup from the herb and bottle.

Now I have flavored syrups to use for a variety of things in my kitchen, and the very best part is I know exactly what is in them, no additives or chemicals. I will use these syrups in recipes that call for flavorings, as topping on ice cream. This past weekend I was sharing a bottle of sparkling wine with some friends and they wanted to try the lavender syrup in the wine, and I must say it was delicious!!!

My favorite way to use the syrups though is just to flavor water. The mint that I just made for instance, take about 1/8 cup and pour over a glass filled with ice, add water and you have an instant glass of mint iced tea. Or with the ginger or cherry syrups, again using about 1/8 cup of the syrup, pour over ice and fill the glass with club soda and you have ginger ale or cherry soda with no chemicals added. Talk about refreshing!!!!

The syrups sit on my counter in the kitchen. At this point all I can say about shelf life of the syrup is that it can take me up to 9 months to use a bottle and it has never went bad. With one exception, I did make kiwi syrup one time and found that I had to keep it refrigerated to keep it from growing mold; however, I have not had that happen with any of my other syrups.

So if you are looking for a new way to use up some of your harvest, get creative with sugar and water and make your own syrups.

Happy Harvesting!!

P.S. I haven't forgotten about the lavender ice cream recipe, I just have not quite perfected the taste of the ice cream yet. So stand by, it will be coming soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment