How to Make Simple Syrup Flavoured with Herbs
You can save a lot of money when you make simple syrup from fresh ingredients at home. Replace store-bought syrups and have a variety of flavours at a fraction of the price.
Herb-infused simple syrup is a concentration of sugar and water, in specific proportions, that have flavorful herbs added for variety. The ingredients may come from culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, fruit, or even vegetables. Foraged fruit, roots, bark, or leaves may also flavour sugar syrups. The possibilities are endless.
These homemade syrups are versatile. They can be used as flavoured coffee syrup to bring variety to your morning cup, for their health benefits to help bitter herbs taste better, for their nutritive benefits with the addition of beneficial sweeteners, or for culinary uses to add flavour to cold drinks, pour on top of pancakes, or to flavour sherbet and other desserts.
Think about making seasonal syrups like lavender, mint, or rosemary in the summer or cinnamon, douglas fir, and spruce syrup in the winter.
Basic water to sweetener proportions for unflavored sugar syrup
Unflavored simple syrup is often used in the canning process to mellow the taste of bitter fruits. It also acts as a preservative, keeping the fruit from oxidizing so it will keep its colour. The best part about making your own is having control over the amount of sugar you consume.
- heavy syrup – one part water to one part sugar (1 cup to 1 cup)
- medium syrup – one part water to half part sugar (1 cup to 1/2 cup)
- lite syrup – one part water to quarter part sugar (1 cup to 1/4 cup)
Which sweetener should you use?
There are several possibilities to consider. You might try making it with each one so you can taste the difference they make on the overall product.
- Honey has 17 grams of sugar per tablespoon
- Maple Syrup has 12 grams of sugar per tablespoon
- White sugar and brown sugar have 12 grams of sugar per tablespoon
- Date sugar has 13 grams of sugar per tablespoon
If you are trying to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, it might seem beneficial to use white sugar, which is the lowest on the scale, however, consider the other benefits. You also have minerals, vitamins, and fibre that help you to process the sugar.
Gathering Herbs and Botanicals
You should always harvest botanicals at their peak of freshness and flavour. Pass on overripe, blemished or diseased leaves and bark. Process them immediately by drying or freezing until you are ready to prepare. You can use fresh, frozen, or dried herbs and botanicals in this master recipe.
Elderberry Syrup is commonly used medicinally for cold and flu season. In addition to culinary uses, there are many medicinal uses for herb-infused syrup. Hawthorn Berries can be used as a heart tonic and ginger syrup eases upset tummies. Even kids love them.
Master Infused Simple Syrup Recipe
- 1 cup of fresh herbs, roots, bark or fruit (if using dried botanicals, use 1/2 cup)
- 3 cups of water
- Make a hot infusion of the leaves, flowers, or fruit by making a tea and steeping, covered for 10 minutes. Be sure that this doesn’t boil. If you are using harder material like bark, simmer this in a saucepan over medium heat for 15 to 30 minutes until the herbs are soft.
- Once infused, strain out the herbs and return the liquid to the saucepan. Measure the remaining liquid
- Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar or honey to the saucepan for each cup of herbal tea that you have left. Simmer it all gently, over low heat, or an additional 15 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half of the original volume.
Bottle the finished syrup in swing-top bottles (found on Amazon or at Ikea) or cap them tightly in Mason jars. They will last 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator or up to six months if frozen in ice cube trays.
7 Ways to Use Botanical Syrups Every Day
- Add mint-infused syrup to your next batch of Peaches or Nectarines during the canning process.
- Add a tablespoon of raspberry syrup into a glass of iced seltzer water for a refreshing summer drink.
- Drizzle lemon verbena syrup over your next bowl of ice cream.
- Add cinnamon simple syrup to your next cup of hot cocoa.
- Flavour homemade yogurt with a variety of flavours.
- Mix homemade flavour into your morning oatmeal.
- Add to homemade balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing.
Stumped on flavour ideas? Try one of these recipes from my friends
Forsythia Flower Honey Syrup from Grow Forage Cook Ferment
How to Make Hickory Bark Syrup from Learning and Yearning
Lavender Simple Syrup from Garden Therapy
It’s Your Turn: Now that you know how to make simple syrup infused with herbs, what is your favourite way to use them?