One of the wonderful things about celebrating Summer Solstice in years past was the abundance of fresh things to use as ingredients for preparing meals; tasty herbs, late spring berries, baby salad leaves. Summer would bring excitement for warmth and light but also for having more choices and no longer needing to draw only from last years stored supplies.
This recipe uses some of the herbs we have been chatting about over the last few weeks in a delicate herbal beverage for solstice brunch. As it happens, this year, solstice falls on a Saturday so breakfast or brunch is the perfect meal to plan a celebration around. Are you getting up to greet the sun?
The picture above is one stalk of each of the herbs mentioned below with the exception of rosemary where two smaller ones were clipped. They were divided into two groups, rosemary, oregano & tarragon was one group and sweet cicely, mint & lemon verbena was the second group. You can choose whatever combination is appealing to you or keep it simple and use only one variety.
This is one of those times when being allowed to stroll through the Jean’s garden and clip as inspiration comes is such a blessing. Buying bunches of these herbs somewhere will give you much more than you need for this recipe, although making more and bottling it is always an option.
You will need:
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
4 Tbsp. Lemon juice
Since herbs are the main ingredient of this recipe, it is a great time to be that little bit more aware of what you are creating. Each variety of herb has components and health benefits that they are relinquishing for your body. When you cut a stem from the plant, give thanks. As you prepare your syrup, be grateful and have appreciation for the final beverage you are going to offer your friends and family. Deep breath in, hold and release.
We will start by making a simple sugar syrup.
In a small pot place 1 cup of water and add in 1/2 cup sugar.
While the water is heating, wash the herbs as needed. Strip the leaves off the stems of the herbs you are choosing and rough chop a couple of times.
Bring the water to a boil and add the herbs. Stir and cover with a lid. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.
Repeat the process again with the second selection of herbs if you choose to do more than one flavour combination.
Set the pot(s) aside and allow to fully cool. This will take an hour or so, giving the herbs time to impart their lovely aromas and benefits.
Once cool strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a bottle, keeping any little bits out of the syrup.
To serve, combine several table spoons of syrup in a glass with soda or mineral water, champagne or sparking wine. You can do both alcohol and non-alcohol options in jugs and just add a pretty label.
If this does not look like something that will fit into your schedule before solstice, another option would be to stop by your local Ikea and pick up a bottle of elderflower syrup to use instead. Mixed with soda water, it also makes a light refreshing change of pace. I used to order them all the time in British pubs while on walking pilgrimages (I never have gotten a handle on beer).
I found the luminaries at Wicks and Wax, $2.00 for 10. They come in a range of mixed colours and are a quick and easy way to get the colour of summer solstice onto your table, either as a luminary or cover for a vase of flowers.
Refreshing Herbs & Bubbly from My Kitchen Wand