Herbs For Tea and Sweets

Herbs For Tea and Sweets

Part of Ep. 1301 Gardening and Cooking with Herbs

Herb Society President Lauri Lee has a tea party with Shelley Ryan, where she demonstrates the art of making unique teas, syrup, herb-based desserts and sauce for pasta.

Premiere date: Jul 09, 2005

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
We are back in the lovely herb garden of Susan Churchill and Herb Society President Lauri Lee. We've discussed how to establish an herb garden, how to design it. Now we're going to look at one of the many uses of herbs and that's steeping. Lauri, I'm confused. I thought we were talking about steeping herbs and it looks more like a really nice tea party.

Lauri:
Well, we are having a tea party.

Shelley:
Well, good.

Lauri:
It's a wonderful way to highlight steeping or herbal infusions, as we also call it. You can steep
herbs into any type of liquid, into your recipes, into water, sugar syrup, into juice and even
cream.

Shelley:
And we have examples of all of that right here, don't we?

Lauri:
We do.

Shelley:
Well, let's take a closer look. Could we start with an actual definition of what does steeping
mean?

Lauri:
Actually, to steep an herb, you're going to take your choice of liquid and you're going to bring it to a boil on a stove in a pan. Make sure you've got your lid handy. Put your herbs underneath the water, underneath the liquid, because you really want to get the flavor out of the herb, into the
liquid.

Shelley:
Ok.

Lauri:
You don't want the essential oils to evaporate into the air, so after you've brought it to a boil and
you've put them underneath, take it off the burner, put the lid back on and set it to cool for about
10 to 30 minutes, depending on the recipe.

Shelley:
So the length depends on how you're actually going to use it.

Lauri:
Many times.

Shelley:
Let's talk about use. I know tea comes to mind when I think steeping. That's the only thing that
comes to mind, so let's start with that.

Lauri:
Most people are probably most familiar with that and we have some herb tea sitting here. Our
hot water. We're going to actually put our herbs directly into the tea pot. You can do it in different ways by using tea balls and some of these other strainers. Perhaps the most simple way
is to put your herbs into the tea pot, immerse it under water.

Shelley:
And then strain it before you put it into the cup.

Lauri:
Set it aside. Let it totally steep. You want it to stay pretty warm during this time.

Shelley:
And what did you put in it? That's delicious.

Lauri:
We have a peach sage. We have a lavender mint. We have stevia for a little bit of
sweetness.

Shelley:
That's the sugary flavor. Ok.

Lauri:
We have ginger mint and a little bit of ginger root.

Shelley:
That's delicious. Let's talk about sugar syrup. That intrigues me. How would I use herbs in a
sugar syrup.

Lauri:
Basically, it would be the same as an herbal tussane, only you would actually add, let's say, a cup
of water with a cup of sugar. Put your herbs underneath and bring it to a boil. You will steep it, you'll actually cook it on the burner for another five minutes. Then take it off the burner, put the lid on it. Let it cool.

Shelley:
What would I use it in?

Lauri:
You can actually take, after you've strained your herbs and gotten all the good flavor out, you can put them into pretty bottles and put it in the refrigerator and you'll have it there in your herbal pantry. You can take it and add it to your lemonade

Shelley:
Ok.

Lauri:
You can actually make an iced herbal tea out of lemon verbena and you might add a little bit of mint syrup to that.

Shelley:
That's what this is, is mint?

Lauri:
This is a peppermint syrup.

Shelley:
I'm thinking ice cream.

Lauri:
You can actually use it top of desserts. It's great on top of ice cream.

Shelley:
Wonderful. Ok. Then you mentioned juices and then you said you turn the juices into jelly. So
that's what this is here?

Lauri:
That is an example of cinnamon basil in an apple raspberry juice just purchased from the grocery
store.

Shelley:
The juice is just--

Lauri:
Purchased from the store. You don't have to stomp your own grapes all the time. You can
actually use something from the grocery store and come up with something wonderful and the jelly is wonderful on your scones, or you can also use it on top of your fruit tarts as a glaze.

Shelley:
And it has a totally different scent with the cinnamon basil in there.

Lauri:
Beside scent, it has a wonderful flavor.

Shelley:
What about cream? That one I'd never heard of.

Lauri:
Actually, you can steep in cream much the same way as in water or sugar syrup. Again, you're
just putting the herbs underneath the liquid. After you've brought it to a boil and, again, put the
lid on. Let it set aside. Let it cool. Then you can use the cream in any recipe that calls for cream or milk.

Shelley:
So how did you use cream infused with herbs for instance in these two recipes then?

Lauri:
We've used lavender and infused it in the cream for the cheesecake.

Shelley:
Oh, wow.

Lauri:
And here, we've used lemon verbena and infused that in the cream for these scones.

Shelley:
So, it gives it a little bit more lemony flavor, basically.

Lauri:
It does, it's wonderful.

Shelley:
Wow. And you've got some little candies here.

Lauri:
We have some truffles here. And the top one is an orange mint with bittersweet chocolate.

Shelley:
Oh, yum.

Lauri:
And our bottom one is a white chocolate infused with rose geranium and a second one on here that’s infused with lemon verbena.

Shelley:
Well I never thought of using herbs in cream. I bet I could even use them, like tarragon in a cream sauce for pasta.

Lauri:
It would be great with chicken.

Shelley:
Oh Lauri, these are great ideas. Thank you so much.

Lauri:
You're welcome, Shelley.

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