Today I’m making lemon verbena simple syrup as a quick way to preserve my harvest. Lemon verbena is my favorite herb. It smells wonderfully fresh and inviting. I think it has the best lemon fragrance, even better than a lemon balm, and right up there with fresh lemon.
I planted a lemon verbena hedge of twelve plants in my garden this year, so I really have it in abundance.
Here in the South, it grows as a perennial. In the North, you’ll want to grow it in a pot so it can be protected indoors during the winter. Even the slightest frost will cause its leaves to fall, and a prolonged freeze will kill it completely.
Making a flavored simple syrup is one way to preserve your herb harvest. It can be made from sugar, water, and any leafy green herb you choose. If you have extra mint, basil, or lavender, give it a try. Always use the same ratio: 1 cup of water to 2 cups of sugar, plus 1 cup of herbs.
Here’s the Process for Making Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup
You will need:
- 1 cup of water
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 – 2 cups of lemon verbena leaves
- sauce pan
- wire whisk
- bowl or pan with a lid
- canning jar or another bottle with a lid
- makes 2 cups
Harvest fresh leaves in the morning as soon as the dew has dried. That will ensure the oils are at their maximum. You’ll need at least one cup of fresh cut herbs. You can see I cut a generous handful and ended up with around 2 cups. Give the herbs a rinse under cold water and a pat dry.
Remove the leaves from the woody stems and give them a quick chopping to help release the oils. Place the leaves in a heat resistant bowl or stainless steel pan that can be covered.
Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan on high heat. Bring it to a rolling boil, whisking until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once it boils for around 30 seconds, the syrup will turn clear. Please remove it from the heat.
Pour the hot syrup over the lemon verbena leaves. Stir until all the herb is covered in syrup. (Don’t forget to take a whiff; it’s heavenly!) Cover the bowl with a plate, plastic wrap, or pan lid and leave it on the stovetop until it completely cools. The covering acts just like steeping tea and helps to keep the volatile oils in the liquid.
When it has cooled, pour the mixture through a kitchen strainer to separate the syrup from the leaves. It helps to press down on the leaves with a spoon or spatula to extract as much lemony goodness as you can.
Bottle the syrup and refrigerate. It will last for at least a month, although I really doubt you’ll have it around that long.
Related post: Lemon Verbena – From Tea to Tincture
This process works for all leafy herbs. If you are using roots as the medium, be sure and check out how I make Ginger Simple Syrup.
One thing to note – this syrup does have a slightly “herby” taste. It definitely is lemony, but not as intense as the actual leaf scent. I made lemonade straight away and couldn’t taste the herbiness at all.
5 Ways to use Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup
- Lemon verbena lemonade
- Add it to milkshakes
- Drizzle over cupcakes
- As a flavoring in icing or filling
- As a sweetener in morning tea
Lemon verbena simple syrup is easy to create and a great addition to your pantry. In just a few hours, you’ll have the makings of a terrific lemonade or a fine addition to your morning tea. Give it a try!
Bonus: How to Grow Lemon Verbena For Making Simple Syrup
Growing lemon verbena and using it are two different things. Any gardener worth their salt will tell you that the climate and soil are two important factors and that you might need to adapt your growing tactics depending on them.
However, there are a few tips we can give you without taking into account the two previously mentioned factors. Jot this information down somewhere in case you’ll need to grow your own lemon verbena in the future.
- Sprays of purple or white flowers emerge in late spring and attract beneficial elements while keeping away mosquitoes and flies.
- Add a 4-inch or 1-gallon potted lemon verbena plant to your herb garden, alongside other tea favorites such as lemon balm, mint, and camomile.
- Use the leaf dried in potpourri and meals, or use it either dry or fresh in tea.
How to Keep It Alive
- Frost tender at around 30 degrees Fahrenheit; to avoid death in cold winter areas, plant lemon verbena in a container that you can bring indoors during the winter.
- If your verbena does lose its leaves, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dead. It might mean winter is coming and it’s going dormancy.
- It is best to plant it directly in the sun in hotter regions. As a matter of fact, the more natural light your lemon verbena receives, the better it will get overall.
- You should avoid clay or acidic soil, as it will prevent the plant from reaching its full potential.
- Water the plant on a weekly basis, as it doesn’t like it being either too dry or too wet. The soil should be organic and should drain water at a decent level to get the best results.
- As with other plants of this type, harvesting it on a regular basis is the best approach.
There are affiliate links in this post and I’m sharing some of my favorite kitchen things from Amazon. When you purchase from my affiliate links I receive a small commission and it doesn’t cost you extra. Not enough to purchase a set of canning jars mind you, but I’ll eventually be able to afford more organic sugar to make syrup! Thanks for the support.