Monday, July 11, 2011

Spice Rack Challenge June: Mint

Better Late Than Never Mint Syrup

We were so set back in the garden from the previous month of rain that June was a race to get the summer garden planted, salvage what we could of what made it through the rains from the spring garden, and preserving what we buy in at that time of year.  While I did posts I just didn't have a moment for a mint-specific one.  So here it is.  Better late than never mint syrup.

Flavored syrups are simple to do.  So simple that the base is called "Simple Syrup".  Mint is a useful one for us because it sweetens so many things: ice tea, smoothies and shakes, fizzy water, fruit, sherbert, lemonade, popsicles, the list goes on.  Wherever a touch of minty sweetness is called for there goes mint syrup.

The ratio of sugar to water for this syrup is 1:1.  This ratio equals a heavy syrup.  Simple syrups can be varied from extra light to heavy depending on the sugar to water ratio.

Bring 2 cups sugar and two cups water to a rapid simmer over medium heat.  When the sugar is all dissolved bruise a large handful of mint sprigs and submerge them in the syrup.  Remove from the heat and steep until cool.  Remove the mint sprigs and filter the syrup through a fine sieve or cheesecloth into a jar.  You can garnish the jar with a few fresh mint sprigs or not.  Label, date and store in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.

You can use other herbs and fruits to make flavored simple syrups as well.  Basil, thyme and lemon balm are particularly nice, as is any citrus (use the zest).

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