Ahhhh, late summer. I don't know about you, but the fact that fall is right around the corner feels like a SUCH relief. It has been the hottest, most humid summer season in New England I can ever remember and although I've been in the relatively dry heat of California for the past four years I feel like everyone on the east coast can relate on some level. I could complain about it forever, but truly, deep down, I am grateful for the heat and humidity - a feel of the tropics before we prepare for another cold winter.
It's around this time of year, every year though, that many of us fall into a bit of a panic about all the summer plans we haven't yet seen though.
We say "It's mid-August and I still I haven't gotten to ___________."
- Swim in a lake
- Eat corn on the cob
- Go camping
- Hike a big mountain
- Dip into the ocean on a moonlight night
As summer starts to slip away the nights grow longer, the air turns colder and we all cling onto those last few weeks of lush, green fully-alive beauty. For me, a lot of my yet-to-be-realized summer plans involved living more closely with nature. So yesterday I made the simple commitment to make this truly seasonal recipe - to go out and forage some wild mint from the yard and to select some fresh berries from the market, to make this syrup, to slow down, to notice the smells, to savor the season.
If you'd like to do the same please follow along with the recipe below. It's super simple and easy to achieve - take your time, enjoy the process, share with your friends! Of course, if another seasonal fruit or herb calls to you, change them out keeping similar proportions - this recipe is SUPER versatile. Great additions would be - rosemary, basil, lemon balm OR raspberries, strawberries, plums.
A Long-Lasting Bonus: If you make the shrub (that's just the simple syrup + vinegar) -recipie detailed below- you can savor this memory of summer for months to come. Living in this way allow you to enjoy the summer in the winter, which can make a world of difference when you feel like warm days are a million miles away.
Serves: 6 (1/2 gallon) • Prep Time: Overnight + 10 min
FOR THE SIMPLE SYRUP
- 1 cup liquid sweetener (I used agave syrup, you could also use granulated sugar or coconut sugar as well)
- 1 cup water
- 1 pint fresh blackberries
- 2 cups fresh mint leaves, lightly packed (the more the better)
Add all ingredients into a medium-sized pot on medium heat, and bring to a simmer for just 5 minutes. Take off the heat and Use the side of a fork to help to mash the berries so they release more of their juices and gorgeous color. Allow the syrup to cool slightly and then pour into a mason jar with a lid. Let it sit out overnight to steep. In the morning, strain your syrup into another clean jar. This recipe makes double the amount you need for a rough half gallon recipe of lemonade - you can store it in your fridge for a week or so.
Alternatively, add a cup of apple cider vinegar to the remainder of your syrup - a concentrated mix of simple syrup, flavorings and vinegar is called a 'shrub' and when diluted in water (I'd say add 2 tbsp. to a 16 oz. cup) it takes plain H20 to a whole new level of sophistication - not to mention, the AVC adds a powerfully digestive spike to your sips! Lasts for a few months in the fridge.
FOR THE LEMONADE
- 1 cup blackberry mint simple syrup
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (it took me 6 whole lemons to get there)
- 6-8 cups water
- Ice + mint sprigs for garnish
Add all ingredients to a large container and stir. Chill, and/or pour over ice, garnish with mint. Enjoy!
LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN