Old Fashioned Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena Lemonade Syrup

Old Fashioned Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena Lemonade Syrup
Tuesday 5th July 2011 ~ Old Midsummer’s Day and My Dad’s Birthday!
Mardi 5 Juillet 2011 ~ St Antoine
The hot weather continues and I have decided that action is required on the lemonade front ~ I have lemon balm and lemon verbena in the garden and they both make such an amazing lemonade syrup to be enjoyed on a hot and muggy afternoon. Also, I thought that as it is Old Midsummer’s Day, that this would be a great way to celebrate all that is summery and herbal in the garden. I love keeping in touch with all of our old feasts and festivals, as well as traditions and the old calendar ~ I think that life it too frenetic and without any seasonal celebration nowadays. Old Midsummer’s Day was a day of magic and dancing; a celebration of the longest day of the year ~ a day of superstition and fairies!  
Old Fashioned Shrub Roses from my garden.
On the eve of Midsummer’s Day, many bonfires were lit all over the country. This was in praise of the sun, for the days were getting shorter and the sun appeared to be getting weaker, so people would light fires to try and strengthen the sun.Midsummer’s Superstitions
Roses are of special importance on Midsummer’s Eve. It is said that any rose picked on Midsummer’s Eve, or Midsummer’s Day will keep fresh until Christmas. At midnight on Midsummer’s Eve, young girls should scatter rose petals before them and say:Rose leaves, rose leaves,


Rose leaves I strew.

He that will love me

Come after me now.
Then the next day, Midsummer’s Day, their true love will visit them. I am off to pick some more roses now!

But, back to my lovely refreshing lemonade ~ here is the recipe for a magical brew ~ and one that should refresh the parts that other lemonades can not reach!

Old Fashioned Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena Lemonade Syrup

There are numerous recipes for lemon balm lemonade, and I have an old English recipe myself that I make regularly – but, if you find that it is sometimes a little “light” on the lemon flavour, add some lemon verbena for a super charged lemon kick! I have made this several times now and it is so refreshing and zingy, perfect for a hot summer’s day. Once the syrup is made, it lasts for several weeks in the fridge, or several months in a cool dark place if you add the optional citric and tartaric acid. Serve with cold sparkling water and slices of lemon and a sprig of either lemon balm or lemon verbena.”
Ingredients:
450g (1 lb) caster sugar
600 ml ( 1 pint) water
1 Lemon, cut into halves
10 large Lemon Balm leaves
10 Large Lemon Verbena leaves
1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid
Method:

Place the sugar, lemon halves and water into a saucepan and heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Add the lemon verbena and lemon balm leaves and boil for 2 minutes; leave to cool. Add the citric or tartaric acid if using at this stage. Allow to cool and then cover and allow to infuse for 24 to 48 hours, depending on what strength you require. (I have left this for 3 days sometimes too, for a real lemon zing).
Sieve through a fine mesh or colander, discarding the lemon halves and the herb leaves – then pour into clean and sterile bottle/s; seal tightly and store in a cool dark place for several months or in the fridge for several weeks.

To use: 1 part syrup to 4 parts water or sparkling water, to taste – add more for a stronger lemon flavour or less for a more delicate flavour. Add ice, a slice of lemon and some lemon balm or lemon verbena leaves as a garnish.

More magical recipes later!
Karen 

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