Once your herbs starting blooming and leafing out this season, be sure to cook up some herbal goodies. Herbal foods and medicines are fun to experiment with because they’re so alive: They have strong smells, strong flavors and active properties. I love working with herbs and so do my children—we usually study some herb and how to prepare it as part of the school year.
Herbal sugars are super fun and perfect for whipping up real-food cakes and confections. All they require is a blender or sharp knife and quality sugar. We usually splurge and use an organic cane sugar so that the color of the herbs comes through.
We’ve found that herbal sugars will keep for at least a year. The colors of the herbs stay as vibrant as they the day they were harvested, which is amazing. Sugar is an incredible preservative!
Forage in your herb garden for an appealing herb: mint leaves, lavender buds, rugosa rose petals, hibiscus blooms, basil, calendula. All are lovely, so let your taste buds be your guide. Check out this list of edible flowers for some additional inspiration.
Clean and section your herbs. If you’ve picked a flower, like lavender, then pull off the flower head or petals to use and compost the stems. If you’ve chosen a leaf herb, like mint, remove the leaf from the stem for use.
Place one part herb and one part sugar in your blender with sugar. I usually use a 1:1 ratio, but for more potent herbs, like lavender, I cut the herb amount by half. Fiddle around with the proportions so you find a flavor that suits your taste.
Blend the herbs and sugar on low until mixed thoroughly. The sugar should slightly turn the color of the herb, and you should still see particles of the herb. You don’t want a fine powder—just a colorful mixture. The color will be more pronounced with herbs like rugosa rose and calendula. With leafy herbs, like mint, there’s a subtle color change, but the more you add the darker it will be.
Put each herbed sugar into its own bowl and stir it around a bit more to make sure it’s well-blended.
If you’re using a knife only, cut each herb into small particles and mix them into the sugar vigorously. A handheld mixer would be useful if you have one.
You can use the blended herbal sugars right away. Get a taste of the herbs sprinkled on top of your treat, and enjoy their lovely hue.
A slower method for making herbal sugars is to fill a pint jar with sugar, chop up or simply de-stem your favorite herb and insert it into the sugar to infuse for several days to weeks in a cool, dark place. This method is best suited to sugars for tea and other hot beverages. It won’t adopt any of the herb’s color, but it will be infused with its essential oils for a nice aroma.
Whatever method you try, start eyeing those herb plants now and pick a few to try once they leaf out or flower. Be sure to report back your favorite combinations, so that others can try them and extol your genius.
Find more herbal projects on HobbyFarms.com:
- 8 Gift-Wrapping Ideas Inspired By Herbs
- Mint Chocolate Lip Balm
- Cayenne Salve For Pain Relief
- Wash Your Hair With Homemade Shampoo Bars