Herb Sugar

HERB SUGAR
(Makes about 2 cups)

An herb-flavored sugar lends a sweetly elegant touch to anything, whether stirred into iced tea, sprinkled over berries or beaten into a simple pound cake. A touch of orange, lime or lemon zest can also be added for a slightly more complex flavor. Use lavender, lemon balm, verbena, mint or rosemary.

Here’s a general formula:
1/4 cup leaves and/or flowers of sweet herbs, such as lavender, lemon balm,
verbena, mint or rosemary
2 cups granulated sugar
Zest from 1 citrus fruit, in strips, not grated (optional)

Place the herbs on a cutting board or in a mortar and gently use a pestle or the back of a wooden spoon to bruise them slightly to release some of the aromatic oils.

In a bowl or in a resealable plastic bag, combine the herbs, sugar and, if using, zest. Transfer to a glass jar or other container with a tight-fitting cover and set aside for two weeks. Every few days, give the sugar a shake or a stir to spread the aromatic oils around and to break up any clumps. Strain the sugar, discarding the herbs and zest. Return to a container with a tight-fitting cover and store at room temperature.