Summer berries and lemon basil combine to make a heightened summer flavor combo. Serve this over ice cream or garnished with whipped cream or yogurt for a patriotic dessert! If you don’t have lemon basil, try lemon balm or lemon verbena–or just make the simple syrup below using the zest of 1 lemon.
Makes about 6 servings
First make the Lemon Basil 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 10 lemon basil sprigs or a large handful of lemon herb leaves
Then prepare the berries:
About 2 generous cups wineberries
1 to 2 cups blueberries
About 1/2 to 3/4 cup lemon basil syrup
Prepare the syrup first. 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 lemon basil 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.
To combine the berries and syrup, toss the berries in a bowl with the lemon syrup. Let stand for at least 1/2 hour or up to three. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt.