The first of which is that I forgot to bring my camera's data cable with me to my mother-in-law's house. So no pictures this month - unless you check back next week when I get home.
That doesn't even take into account the fact that I was originally supposed to make herb jelly, not syrup. Oh, the foibles I wrought upon the whole jelly-making process. I'll number my efforts for easier perusal.
1. I thought I had enough lemon verbena and lemon thyme to make an entire two cups of herbs, like my recipe from the Ball book required. Nope. I had to fill in the gaps with the regular thyme and silvery thyme from my herb garden (yes, I am a bit of a thyme freak. But you should be, too. It goes with everything).
2. I decided that the five and a half cups of sugar was just way too much, so I cut it back to four. No harm, I decided; the powdered pectin would still set.
3. I couldn't friggin' find the powdered pectin. I had my herbal infusion straining through my brand new jelly bag while I tore apart my fairly well organized pantry in search of that darned stuff. After fifteen minutes I gave up. I instead used a three ounce pouch of Certo liquid pectin. Maybe it would still set, I thought doubtfully.
It didn't. I boiled, stirred, and canned my sticky stuff, and it remained resolutely viscous. That didn't turn out to be a bad thing, though. Instead of the herbal jelly I thought I wanted, I instead got a deliciously lemony, tangy syrup. Perfect for iced tea and cocktails, I decided. Or for just eating off a spoon. If I make it again, I probably wouldn't need the liquid pectin. I could just boil it down a little more (or follow the directions and actually make jelly, but I digress).
If you want herb jelly, I'd recommend this recipe or the Fresh Herb Jelly from the Ball book. However, if you'd like to replicate my mess, here's how I did it.
(P.S. I found the powdered pectin the next day when I was packing for our trip. It was hidden in the bottom of one of my reusable shopping bags.)
Look! I finally posted some pictures! (Edited 5/14/2010)
Lemon Verbena and Thyme Syrup
Makes 4-5 half pint jars
2 C roughly chopped fresh herbs (lemon verbena, lemon thyme, regular thyme, whatever)
1 1/2 C dry white wine
1 C water
1 C white wine vinegar (I used white balsamic)
4 C sugar
pinch of salt
1 three ounce pouch liquid pectin (probably not needed, but I used it here)
1. Throw the herbs, wine, water, and vinegar in a 1 quart or larger saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover the pan and remove it from the burner. Let it sit for 15 minutes, undisturbed.
2. Time for straining! Set a cheesecloth lined sieve or a jelly bag over a 4 cup measuring cup or a medium bowl. Pour the contents of the saucepan into the sieve or bag and let it drip for 30 minutes. You should end up with 3 1/4 C of herb infused liquid. (While you're waiting for the herbs to drip, it's a good idea to get your canner going and to sterilize your jars and rings, soften lids, etc). Discard what's in the bag/ cheesecloth.
3. Put a big clean pot on the burner and fill it with the herbal infusion. Add the sugar and salt and bring it to a boil again, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it's reached a rolling boil (the kind you can't stir down) add the liquid pectin. Stir to distribute it, then boil it hard for 1 minute. Pull it off the burner.
4. Ladle the syrup into hot, clean jars. Wipe the rims and apply the softened lids, then screw on the bands until finger tight. Place them in the canner and boil for 10 minutes, covered. Uncover and let them sit for another 5 minutes. Then remove them from the water and let sit on rack or towel to cool. My lids popped almost immediately. Check the seals after 8-12 hours. Store them in cool, dark place.