|Freshly picked Verbena|
|Verbena & White Choc Pudding|
So, I bought 2 plants and planted them in my lovely herbal garden (ok, it's a raised bed) but they got so big (despise the weather) that I had to cut them back. So, here I was, standing with lots of lemon verbena leaves which I just didn't want to waste on the compost heap. I cooked the Lemon Verbena pudding before, so I wanted to find different ways of using it.
The first idea that popped into my head was of course cordial/syrup which is dead easy to do. You can dilute it with water, sparkling water or - in my opinion the best option, add it to a glass of chilled Prosecco. It also add a nice touch to cocktails etc.
Bring a liter of water to the boil with same amount of sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Let it simmer until it becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat. Add a cup (or more) of lemon verbena leaves (bruise them a bit to release the oil) and let to steep for an hour or so. Strain and bottle. Keep in fridge.
|Lemon Verbena Syrup|
The next idea was a jelly - was thinking of fresh baked scones with cream and lemon verbena jelly or even jam tarts.... one word here for the jelly, the verbena has absolutely no pectin so it will not set on its own (even with jam sugar), so you will have to add lemon. Here I added the zest of 2 lemons as well as the juice (you can also use the pips in a bag to add extra pectin) but you can also by a bottle of pectin (the organic shop in the English Market has it).
Pour a liter water into a non-reactive pan and add about 2 cups of chopped lemon verbena leaves as well as the zest of 2 lemons (I peeled them rather than grate) and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for about 15 mins. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
Spoon the jelly into prepared sterilised jars and tighten the lid.
You can make so much more with lemon verbena - it is such a beautiful herb. Tea, potpourri, flavoured sugar, infused vodka (infusing away in my larder as we 'speak').... the ideas are endless. Watch this space for more delicious recipes