Peaches and blueberries are a winning combo--when you add this lovely herbal syrup made from lemon herbs and lavender flowers--it is practically ethereal. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
This recipe can be enjoyed as a fruit salad, or it can be a topping for shortcakes, further enhanced with fresh whipped cream.
Add the lemon herb and lavender syrup to any beverage from lemonade or iced tea to your favorite cocktail--rum punch, cosmo or even a martini.
Makes about 8 servings
6 very ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 pint blueberries
About 1 cup lemon herb and lavender syrup
Lemon zest, optional
Peaches or nectarines are wonderful on shortcakes—they can stand alone—but are lovely when combined with blueberries or raspberries. The lemon herb and lavender syrup is delightful with any fruit. You can also try bergamot or orange mint.
Toss the peaches in a bowl with the lemon juice. Add the blueberries and pour the lemon and lavender syrup overall. Let stand for at least one hour or up to three. Garnish with a little lemon zest if desired and of course, some lemon herb leaves and a few lavender spikes.
Lemon Herb and Lavender Syrup
Herb syrups are wonderful flavor essences that can be added in place of the liquid in cakes, pie filling, and sorbets. They are good on all kinds of fruits and used in beverages like lemonade and iced tea. Make these when you have fresh herbs in abundance, their flavor and aroma will bring a brightness to fruits and desserts.
Makes about 2 cups
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
About 8 to 10 lemon balm, lemon verbena, or lemon basil sprigs or a large handful of lemon herb leaves
1 teaspoon lavender flowers
To make an herb syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan, place over moderate heat and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the herbs bruising the leaves against the side of the pan with a spoon. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes or until room temperature.
Remove the leaves and squeeze them into the syrup to extract their flavor. Pour into a clean bottle or jar and label. This syrup can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for about 10 days.
If you want to keep the syrup for a long period of time, pour it into a jar or bottle leaving at least an inch of headspace, place on the lid or cap, and label. Freeze them for up to one year. Remove from freezer the night before using and allow to thaw, or place the bottle in a bowl of warm (not hot) water to thaw more quickly. Use what you need and refreeze if desired.