Keep It Simple, Sugar!


I bought a bag of lumpy sugar. So what’s a girl to do? Make simple syrups out of everything in sight! First I used the left over hunk of ginger in my fridge, then a pile of deep red rose petals and I finished up with a disastrous bronze fennel concoction that I "saved" with about a bushel of mint. How? It’s too easy.


I used a medium sized sauce pan, threw in one cup of water and 2 cups of sugar. Boil it up, add a ton of…whatever and lower heat and let it stew. I let it cook, on the lowest setting, for almost 10 minutes to get the full benefit of the herbs and then I let it cool a little and then poured it in to a bowl to cool. After it’s completely cool I’ll strain it and bottle it.

How much flowers/herbs do you use? I don’t think you can go too overboard with this. I used the ginger I had on hand, a big 3 inch chunk, and the syrup could be more gingery. The rose syrup could be more rose-y and I used about 3 cups of them. The mint syrup? Mint growers, rejoice! I used easily 6 cups of mint to make the syrup and I think it could be mintier.

Now, I’m just using what I have on hand, but the possibilities are endless. Lavender, rosemary, anise, lemongrass, basil, lemon verbena, borage flowers, berries, heck- even mulberries!

So what can you do with simple syrups? Add them to cocktails (The classic mojito or I suggest a Bloody Mary-like basil-tini with grape tomatoes on a toothpick instead of olives), coffee, hot or iced tea, on top of ice cream, to pour on angel food cake or between the layers of any cake to infuse moisture and flavor. Gosh, there are lots more ways to use them but I’m all giddy about it now. OR I’ve been tasting too many simple syrups today. Probably the latter. What else can you make simple syrups from? What else can you use them for? I’ll be in the forum, swimming in warm liquid sugar….

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About Amanda Thomsen

Big, loud and fun- Amanda Thomsen landscapes by day and blogs at night. Her blog, Kiss My Aster, on Horticulture magazine's website has alienated/enraptured dozens. She co-authors a blog called Plants That Suck that is about plants that suck. And she is the less popular half of the podcasting team, Good Enough Gardening, which makes her feel like the "Roy" of of Siegfried and Roy, but without the mauling. She lives in Chicago and does not EVER put ketchup on hot dogs.

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