Herbal Essences

Whether you planted starter seeds, have a flourishing stoop garden, a budding backyard, or you're just especially partial to the yummy twine-tied bundles of herbs at the Co-Op, now—in the epic heat of summer—is when most Mediterranean herbs really thrive. Picture this: that sun drenched Adriatic hillside slouching dustily into blue waters has essentially the same micro-climate as your average late July brownstone stoop. So. While our basil is threatening to flower and our lavender and rosemary are thriving under the Tuscan/Putnam ave. sun, we're left to wilt under the heat? Not so fast. Try employing your warm-weather-loving herbs in these delectable, refreshing herbal cordials from Co-op member Talia's fantastic site InnBrooklyn.

Herb Citrus Cordial (makes 4-5 pints)

  • 6 cups sugar
  • Zest of 6 citrus (use your imagination!), in large pieces of peel
  • 4 cups fresh citrus juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 cups loosely packed fresh basil or 2 cups lavender or 20 stalks of rosemary or some other herb you want to cordialize.

In a large pot bring sugar, zest, juice, and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.  Add the herbs and let the syrup infuse for at least 15 minutes.

Strain syrup through a fine sieve, squeezing out as much syrup as possible from the herb leaves before discarding them.

Let cool, and serve with vodka and a splash of soda water, or just soda water if you prefer!

Note: Talia's original recipe makes a whopping 4-5 pints of the delicious elixer and calls for a classic quick-canning method at the end so that any extra will keep for sun-starved winter days- but if you don't want to fuss with that and plan on drinking it all within two weeks (note: now is a good time for a par-tay!), you can just store it in clean jars and keep it in your fridge for up to two weeks.