Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The weather guys say we're going to hit 90 tomorrow so I am preparing. I'm getting the fans in from the garage and beginning my summer experiments with herbal and fruit and/or vegetable infusions. My lemon balm is going like mad so that's what I made today. It's so easy and incredibly refreshing.
Start with a big handful of an herb you really enjoy. Lemon balm and most members of the mint family are good choices. Boil water like you are making tea and pour the water over the herbs, steeping for 15 to 20 minutes. I used a 2 cup Pyrex and got three pours ( 6 cups) out of my handful of lemon balm. If you like it a bit sweet add honey or sugar while the herbs are steeping so the warm water will dissolve it completely. Pour into a pretty glass container; the flavor is delicate and plastic will interfere with it. If you want to add something else do it now, before refrigerating. Today I put in a half cucumber. I love the cucumber/lemon combination. Sliced citrus is also a good choice. Use something hardy. Berries and stone fruit will dissolve quickly and get gross. At this point taste for flavor and add some plain water if you like. You can also add some sparkling water each time you pour a glass. The infusion will keep 2-3 days in the refrigerator, with the flavors of the added ingredients getting stronger over time.
Other favorite combinations are mint & lime, mint/rosemary & orange, and basil with lemons.
Play around with different combinations. I'd love to know what you come up with!