Herb syrups are fun and just slightly exotic. Our first attempt at herb syrup was violet syrup. Nanette, a friend from the Waldorf school where Molly was attending nursery school was making it, and showed us how. It has gone from there. Nanette made hers by setting a gallon jar filled with violets and spring water out overnight during a full moon. The color of her syrup was the gentlest of purples, kissed by the moon. We changed that, gently heating ours on the stove. We've gone on to try many different things with the basic recipe, including mints, ginger, anise hyssop, berries of all kinds, rose petals, lavender, well..... you get the idea. Star anise with a single star dropped into the bottle is excellent as a gift - as are all the others.
Page 8 of the Sept/Oct '07 Essential Herbal has many recipes for rosehips, (Hips, Hips, Hooray, by Maryanne Schwartz) but not the syrup, so I'll post it here.
For this syrup, I peeled a hefty pint of rosehips. The fleshy outer part of the hip is the part you want. Inside are many seeds and tiny prickly hairs, so we just use the outside.
The hips were placed in 2 - 1/2 cups of water, and simmered gently for an hour.
The resulting liquid was strained to remove any solids. I then added enough water to bring the total up to about 1 1/2 cups of liquid.
To that, a bit more than 1 cup of sugar was added, and stirred to dissolve (some people use honey instead of sugar. In that case I would use an equal amount of honey to the liquid). In the beginning, we used a recipe that was 1 part liquid to 1 part sugar. Sugar crystals formed along the inside of the bottles, and I suspect if we'd put wooded skewers inside the jars, we would have had some dandy rock candy. Instead, we cut back on the sugar. The syrup is a little thinner, but it is delicious.
The liquid is returned to heat to a boil, slowly over low heat.
I got a pint of delicious syrup. It will eventually go into 4 oz. bottles to share.
Herb syrups have many uses. Some (not the ones mentioned) are made with medicinal herbs for their health benefits, and can come in very handy with a persnickety child (or adult). The ones mentioned at the top of the page are mostly for flavoring. They can be used to sweeten herb tea, drizzle on fruit - especially melon, over ice cream, crepes, waffles, or in baking.
Oh! And look at the goodies that came home with me from market today! The plant lady has been raving about the home made sauerkraut that the Amish girls have, so I got a quart to try. They had some plump grapes, and they are a organic farm. Aren't they gorgeous? One of the other stands still had lovely lima beans, and our neighbor brought in brussel sprouts (still on the stalk) and black plums.