We don’t get much sun here in Ireland but when we do…..
Last Sunday was such a day; the sun shone from morning to evening and the birds were singing.I decided to have a lazy ol’ Sunday with a good book. Of course, it was a food related one by Nigel Slater ‘Notes from the Larder’.
While looking at my herb bed, I saw that the lemon balm was trying to take over again. It is a very invasive herb, so keeping on top of it can be hard work. I tend to rip the sprig out with its roots as I know that it will grow anyway. As my mint also had recovered nicely from the last move, I took some of it as well. Alone having these herbs in your hand smells of summer – the sunshine was an added bonus.
The most refreshing drink is homemade lemonade. Nothing beats that lemony freshness when poured into a glass. The first sip of the sweet sourness is still one of the most amazing pleasures I can think of. Here I took the mint and lemonbalm to be the base of my lemonade.
Making cordial is easier than most people think. For first-timers, the amount of sugar might shock but don’t forget, you are diluting the cordial. I tend to loose less sugar tho – rule of thumb is one part water to one part sugar but I use about half sugar. I mostly make only enough to last two or three days – if you like to store it longer, you will need to add more sugar and heat-treat the bottled product.
Lemonbalm & Mint Cordial
- 500ml water
- 300g Sugar (I used granulated sugar as I was given a bag of it)
- 40g mix of lemonbalm & mint (cleaned and slightly bruised)
Pour the water and sugar into a pot. Bring to the boil and simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. When the sugar has dissolved, add the herbs (bruising the herbs before adding them to the water will release more of its fragrant essential oils). Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool. When cold, strain through a muslin into sterilized bottles and keep in the fridge until needed. This will keep about three days in the fridge.
To serve, pour cordial to taste into a glass or jug, fill up with cold water or sparkling water. Add some slices of lemons and fresh picked mint as well as ice cubes.