Cool, refreshing, mint. Can you smell it? I've got a lot of mint growing. It can be invasive, so I grow mine in a pot. Thankfully it returns every summer, and it's delicious in tea.
Equal amounts of sugar and water, cooked over medium-high heat until it becomes clear, make an easy and versatile simple syrup. Vanilla sugar (sugar stored with a vanilla bean) only makes it more delicious. Lemon peel tames the slightly acrid property of mint.
TCM states that mint is cooling, downbears heat, and loosens phlegm. This makes it the perfect herb for summer. Even though TCM uses sugar in some prescribed foods, ice is never ingested. I simply can't help myself. I crave ice in my drinks. Even my water.
This morning, I went and harvested eight stems of mint. They're about 12 inches tall.
After bringing my simple syrup and lemon rind to a boil, I covered it and removed it from the heat. This didn't need to boil, only to come to a boil.
Only then did I remove my mint leaves from their stems and gave them a rough chop. I didn't want to lose any of the precious oils that make them so tasty. I put them straight into my simple syrup, gently stirred, replaced the lid on top, and let it sit.
After three hours, I strained my syrup through a cheesecloth. That's it.
This will store in the refrigerator about two months. You're smart. If it smells like it's turned, or shows growth, throw it out and make a new batch. Or you can freeze it into ice cubes. It's a simple way to make a pitcher of tea for everyone. Those who like it unsweetened get a pour straight from the pitcher. Those who like it sweet receive a minty cube added to their glass. It's a special treat on a hot day.
|Yes, that's an old jelly jar!
- 1 C sugar - I used vanilla sugar
- 1 C water
- rind of 1 lemon - use only the yellow part, no pith
- 8 - (12 inch) stems of mint; about 2 cups - loosely packed