I may have finally redeemed myself thanks to this Mint Basil Syrup. You notice I used the word "may" .......... For the last twenty or more years, ever since I started a love affair with fresh herbs, there's been a (mostly) unspoken battle going on between my dear husband, Scott and myself. It's called MINT, and if you grow it now or if you've grown it in the past, you will probably understand exactly what I'm talking about.
I love the stuff. It's bright and fresh and, here in North Carolina, it grows pretty much all year long. We can have the worst winter weather, then a day or two of warm sunshine and there's my beloved mint, poking up it's perky little green leaves as if to say "Hello world, hope still abounds in the herb garden!".
I'm forever pinching or cutting a bit here or there to adorn appetizers, soups, salads, desserts, sauces and entrées. To me the bright green, crisp leaves add a touch of elegance and freshness to otherwise plain, ordinary dishes. I'll even pick a bunch and put it in a pretty vase to brighten up the kitchen. I love the stuff.
Scott .... not so much. My beautiful mint would probably be described by him as a nuisance rather than a (culinary) necessity, as it is to me. He calls it an "invasive weed". It creeps, without permission, into his lovely verdant grass and knows no bounds in his tomato and flower gardens. Being the resident gardener, he's forever trying to control it's exuberant, voracious growth, and there's even been a time or two that he's tried to permanently extinguish my little herb friend. (He probably wouldn't admit this, but I know it's true.) He and mint have just never seen eye to eye.
I served this:
And perhaps, just perhaps, I've finally redeemed myself. He loved it.
I think you will too. It's delightful on fresh fruit, chocolate, ice cream, panna cotta, yogurt, pancakes, waffles, in lemonade, whipped cream, icings, ice tea .......... and a zillion other things. Whip up a batch for a little culinary magic. You never know when you might need a bit of redemption ..........
P.S. That lovely chocolate dessert pictured above is amazing and probably the easiest dessert I've ever made. Chococlate Pots de Creme - you don't want to miss this one!!
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool while preparing the herbs.
Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil. Add herb leaves leaves and stir to submerge. Cook for 15 seconds, then immediately pour into a fine sieve* to drain. Rinse the herbs under cold water for 10-15 seconds to stop the cooking process. Don't omit this blanching step. This will keep your syrup bright green and fresh for days. If you don't blanch the herbs, the resulting syrup will turn a muddy brown color. Blanching also inhibits the growth of enzymes which will cause the syrup to quickly deteriorate.
Allow the herbs to drain, then place between several thicknesses of paper towels and squeeze gently to remove excess water.
Combine cooled sugar solution and blanched herbs in a blender. Puree for 2-3 minutes until mixture turns a bright green color and herbs are finely pureed.
Pour into a bowl, straining through a fine-meshed sieve. Allow to sit for a few minutes to drain. Do not push on solids in sieve. Discard solids and transfer syrup to jars or containers with a tight seal. Will keep, refrigerated for several weeks. It can also be frozen in glass jars (leave ½ inch of space at the top) for a delightful summery treat in the middle of the winter!
*The finer the sieve, the less tiny pieces of herb will be in your syrup. The syrup will also be more transparent when drained through a very fine-meshed sieve.
Hi, Chris, thank you for all you do to spread the goodness around through delicious recipes! I’m making the pots de Creme with the mint basil sauce for a group next week! I chuckled at the time needed to make the sauce! What am I missing?? 🙂
Enjoy each moment,
Chris Scheuer says
Thanks so much, Roz! A while back I switched recipe plugins and it messed up all of my times. I'm slowly trying to straighten that out but it's taking a while! I will go ahead and correct this recipe now.
Cindy hartling says
Thank you Chris for posting the mint basil syrup recipe. I had the pleasure of having lunch at the Apple Pie Bakery at the Culinary Institute Of America in Hyde Park NY last year and had a fabulous rice pudding with a heavenly lime and basil sauce at the bottom of it. I can't wait to tweak your recipe and see if I can come close to it! I do enjoy all your posts and every recipe I have tried has been a winner! Do you have a restaurant in Raleigh?
This has become a family favorite! The first time I made this, I mistakenly used equal amounts of mint and basil (blame my poor eye sight!) - 1/2 cup each. It was FABULOUS even with the stronger basil notes. I've since made it both ways -- Chris's original plus my *mistake*. Both are wonderful. We served the stronger basil version over fresh strawberries and got rave reviews.
Chris Scheuer says
Thanks Kathy for taking the time to leave a comment. I love hearing from people like you and I'm so happy this yummy sauce has found a home with your family. We love it too and it is a unique taste treat.
I haven't been getting email updates so I thought I'd stop in to see if everything's OK! I thought maybe I needed to resubscribe when I saw I'd been missing blogs but it says I'm already subscribed. I don't know what is going on! Anyway, this syrup is brilliant! Go Chris - way to redeem yourself! 😀
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says
Mint does like to run away but I just love it and I know this syrup would be a hit here too.
Love your blog, Chris. So glad I caught your comment on Sue's VFGI.
I read your older post of the "I Want to Marry You" cookies. Your family values are stellar! Cheering your wisdom 😉
I hope to try this recipe once we get some mint to grow in a pot on our deck.
Do you have spearmint or peppermint?
I guess either would work; but, do you have a preference?
Your corn chowder sounds amazing and the pesto swirl and garnishes in those lotus bowls is beautiful.
I'll be back!
Chris Scheuer says
Thank you Kate, I really appreciate you leaving such a kind comment. I grow spearmint, but I think either would work in this recipe.
I think you'd love the chowder too.
Thanks again and kind regards, Chris
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I can't wait to make this syrup with my fresh herbs, so gorgeous!
I'm so excited about growing mint this year and looking forward to this syrup.
What a wonderful sounding and looking syrup. I am glad you finally found a way for your husband to like mint.
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
I think I have to agree with Scott - this stuff grows everywhere but I love it too. I recommend planting in a container if you don't want it to take over. The syrup does look and sound wonderful. It is so very pretty too! Lovely - thanks for the recipe!
This was so easy to make and turned out so beautiful and added such a unique flavor over the chocolate pots de creme. Also added some to homemade carbonated water--turned out a pretty pale green and was outstanding. . . .might add a little Vodka to it some night. . . . I'm thinking there might be other ways to use it as well.
Great ideea, I love it! A big hug <3!
Som glad you shared this. I have my mint mostly contained Ina huge pot. 🙂
Sarah & Arkadi says
beautiful! love that color and creativity! excellent job!
Angie (@angiesrecipess) says
I made a mint syrup before...going to add basil in it next time. This is so pretty and spring-y!
I understand the nuisance of this beautiful herb, but you have really found a winner here. Wish I could smell it.
Very great idea..the flavor is amazing and the color is so nice!! Thanks for sharing Chris and Happy Mother's Day^^
I am definitely making this pretty green concoction..as soon as the rooted basil I planted outdoors starts to thrive..
Hope it works..the roots were ginormous:-)
Thanks so much for that fun tip.
Ginny Hartzler says
It looks wonderful, and so many uses! Scott sounds just like Phil, he wants all grass and nothing to get in the way of his mowing.
Oh, this sounds delicious...I love both mint and basil.
Happy Mother's Day, Chris!
Happier Than A Pig In Mud says
That ice cream pic is drop dead gorgeous!!! Scott, you did your nemesis proud:@) Happy Mother's Day Chris-enjoy:@)
Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg says
Oooh I've been waiting for this. I can't wait to try this, Chris! You're amazing.