The leaves of this plant deserve way more than a majestic introduction ;) I have my own personal nickname for it. The wonder leaves.
This name goes back in the days when my grandma first introduced me to it. She had a big plant on her terrace in Sicily. In the summertime, when the leaves got bigger, she picked them and took them inside in a dry and warm place. She left them overnight. The very next day they were completely dry. And the room was filled with an intense lemon scent. She stored enough for the rest of the year. And there was even enough left for us, to take back to Germany.
Tea is not very big in Southern Italy. And as far as I remember there were only two varieties of tea that were common at my grandma’s house: chamomile and verveine tea. They were not meant to be drunk for pleasure or just for the sake of enjoying some nice tea. They were only used when someone was suffering from a stomach ache. And it truly works! I personally consider verveine to be even more effective than chamomile. It usually doesn’t take longer than half an hour, and the pain either eases or disappears!
Sicily is not the only place where I have found this plant. My Moroccan friend uses big amounts of it too. She explained to me that in Morocco they consider it a calming and relaxing tea, that works also great for babies. While in France I found it on every restaurant or bistro menu. There it’s common to drink it after a meal, thanks to its digestive features.
Now that it’s getting too hot for a tea, I was looking for a summer version. And I came up with the the syrup idea!
Whenever you feel like giving your ordinary cup of water a twist, this is something that deserves a try! Or when you have guests coming over for a bbq or a summer party! They’ll love it!
Now the summer can begin! :)
500 ml / 17fl oz of water
500 g / 17 oz of sugar
30 g / 1 oz (or about one handful) of fresh lemon verbena leaves
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Sterilize (read here) the appropriate bottle or jars that you want to use later on for the syrup.
Bring the water with the sugar to a boil in a pot. Stir until it has completely dissolved.
Turn the stove off and stir in the previously washed verbena leaves. Let them simmer until the liquid cools off.
Cover with a lid or a plastic foil and store in the fridge overnight.
The following day, drain the syrup. Once the leaves have all been removed, fill the bottle or jars.
It can be stored in the fridge for at least 1 month or longer.
As the syrup will turn out very sweet, you will need only a little bit per glass. Pour in cold water on top and stir well. And the refreshing drink is ready! You can also use it to add flavor to crushed ice or desserts.
Prep Time: 20 min (plus approx. 12 h in the fridge)