Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Simple Syrups in Jam

Here's the thing about summer.  It's busy.  Crazy, stupid busy.

There's no such thing as summer vacation around here.   We have the mowing and the garden and the berries and the mowing and the building and the working and the mowing and the garden and the canning and the jams and the garden and the herbs and the mowing and ....

You get the idea. 

Anise hyssop
I get all these great herbs just at the wrong time for me to do anything with them.  The herbs are ready in June and July and I may not have time to make jam with them until maybe six weeks later.   
They don't do so well in the fridge for six weeks.   Or in a vase.   I could dry them, but that's a lot of work itself and somehow things just taste better if you can use the fresh herbs.  

Lemon verbena
And so here's the thing about herbs for jam.    You can capture that fresh flavor and hang onto it for a few months by making simple syrups with the herbs.   You can water or steam bath the syrup in jars to seal it up and then you can use it in January if you want to and it will still be fabulous.  

I made three kinds of simple syrup this year:  anise hyssop, lemon verbena and bay.   I made jam with each of them and you are going to love it! 

But first, I need to tell you how I made the simple syrups.

It's simple.   That's why they're called simple syrups. 

Simple Herb Syrups
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup herb leaves
Combine everything in a small pot.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Strain the herbs out.  Put in a jar and seal if you want to keep it indefinitely.   These will keep nicely on your counter for a few days, or in the fridge for a few weeks if you don't want to seal them. 

They're so pretty!

Here's the bonus!  

You can use these to flavor all kinds of stuff, like cakes and pies and trifles and as meat glazes or over fruit in tarts.   Yep. 

You can use them straight over ice cream or in drinks, too. 


  1. This is so fascinating...and yesterday about the Queen Anne's Lace, which is invading me, now I know what I can do with it.

    In and of itself the simple syrup would be handy just to have to stick in herbal teas, for sweetener, since I like sweet tea of all kinds. Brilliant idea! Thank you!

  2. What a fabulous idea! I have a ton of lemon verbena I should do that with....like Murphala said, for tea if nothing else. :)


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