This syrup won first place in the Best Syrup or Elixir category at the 2009 International Herb Symposium, held in Norton, Mass.
It is warming and stimulating and very good for a sore throat, cold or flu; delicious stirred into tea, mixed with lemonade or with other juices to make a fruit punch, tossed with fruit salad, and drizzled over pancakes, waffles or ice cream.
The lemon herbs are optional; they add a subtle yet enchanting lemon-sweet bouquet.
The syrup makes an exceptional homemade ginger ale. Just fill a glass halfway with ice, fill halfway with ginger syrup and fill to the top with sparkling water.
Make Ahead: The syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 10 days, or frozen for up to 1 year.
Servings: 4 cups
- 4 cups water
- 5- to 6-inch piece peeled ginger root, cut crosswise into coins (about 1 1/2 cups total)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 cups raw organic sugar
- 1/2 lime or lemon, cut into thin slices (may substitute strips of zest from 1/2 lemon or lime)
- Handful lemon verbena, lemon basil or lemon balm leaves (optional)
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger coins and vanilla bean; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then add the lime or lemon slices and the lemon herbs, if desired. Cover and let stand for least 30 minutes, or until the mixture is room temperature.
Strain into an airtight container, discarding the solids. Make sure to label the container. Refrigerate for 7 to 10 days or freeze for up to 1 year.
From culinary herbalist and cookbook author Susan Belsinger.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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