A dear friend gifted me with a literal armload of fresh herbs from her garden. I used them in daily recipes for a solid week, keeping them wrapped in damp paper towels in the fridge, and then needed to find another use before they turned brown. There are a plethora of ideas such as tying them in bunches, hanging by their stems and letting dry, making pesto or chimichurro sauce, and freezing in ice cube trays. I opted to make simple syrup, compound butter and infused oil.
- Simple Syrup … the name says it all. It takes all of 5 minutes to make and the result is a thick, sweet syrup. Herbal infused simple syrup adds a gourmet flair to cocktails and desserts and lasts for about two weeks when stored in a sterilized glass container in the fridge.
- Compound Butter … Another easy way to add flavor to everyday meals with a pat of herbal butter on warm rolls, rice, mashed potatoes or veggies. It is also incredibly delicious served on a steak hot off the grill or pan. It can be frozen for up to six months or about a week in the fridge.
- Olive Oil … Store-bought infused oils are expensive, especially when they are so easy to make! The big difference is that manufactured products have a longer shelf life than homemade versions. So you’ll want to make these in small batches and use within two weeks. Use the lightest olive oil you can find so the flavor doesn’t compete with the herbs. You can use the herbs that are strained out in future recipes. The rosemary and garlic gets nice and crispy and is wonderful added to soups and stews.
Variations: Oh, so many, depending on what type and the amount of herbs you have. The combinations are endless! Or you can always go straight up pure with a single herb for a punch of flavor in any of these recipes. Note: infused olive oils can be a bit cloudy, but it doesn’t affect the taste.
Rosemary Simple Syrup Ingredients:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves (woody stems removed)
Rosemary Simple Syrup Directions:
- Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium high heat, stirring constantly.
- Watch for bubbles and turn down to simmer before bringing to a full boil.
- Add the rosemary sprig and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool in the pan for an hour.
- Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a glass container with a tight fitting lid (like a Mason jar) that has had boiling water poured over to sterilize.
- Keep in fridge for up to two weeks.
Tom Collins with Rosemary Simple Syrup
- Fill a ice shaker with ice.
- Pour in: 1.5 oz gin, 0.5 oz lime juice, 0.5 oz rosemary simple syrup, 3 oz club soda.
- Shake and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
- Place cut up berries (I used blueberries) in a small container and just cover with simple syrup. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Spoon over mousse (pictured here), ice cream or baked goods.
Herbal Compound Butter Ingredients:
- 1 cup softened (not melted) butter (I used salted)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped herbs (I used rosemary, sage, majoram and thyme)
Herbal Compound Butter Directions:
- Thoroughly mix the butter and herbs with a fork.
- Place the mixture on a piece of parchment paper and roll into a log shape.
- Cover the log tightly with plastic wrap.
- Place in fridge for at least 2 hours or until the log has hardened.
- Use as you would butter, keeping the unused portion wrapped and in the fridge or freezer.
Infused Olive Oil Ingredients:
- 16 oz olive oil (use the lightest flavor you can find)
- Handful of fresh herbs
- Optional: Smashed cloves of garlic, sliced jalapenos
Infused Olive Oil Directions:
- Pour the olive into a small pan and add a handful of fresh herbs
- Bring to just a boil, then reduce to simmer.
- Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool for one hour.
- Pour the mixture into a glass container with a tight fitting lid (like a Mason jar) that has had boiling water poured over to sterilize.
- Allow to sit for 4 hours, then strain through a fine sieve. (I strain back into the empty bottle of olive oil used in the recipe and pictured here.) Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.