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Mint Basil Lemonade Blog

Basil and Mint Infused Lemonade

By Lyndsey Bridgers, Marketing Director

The summer sun has us daydreaming of ice cold drinks and relaxing in the shade with family and friends. One of our favorite refreshers this time of year is a chilled glass of lemonade. You can whip up a nice infused simple syrup to give your lemonade a little more flavor. And it’s a great way to use some of your garden-grown herbs!

Basil Fresh Herbs

To begin, select your herbs (typically about a cup total if you’re using greens, such as basil, cilantro, mint or rosemary) and combine them with a cup of sugar and a cup of water into a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Then, turn off the stove and let the herbs steep as the mixture cools, about 30 minutes. Once it’s cool, discard the herbs.

Mint Basil Lemonade Blog

Meanwhile, juice your lemons. I used a citrus press, but you can also squeeze them by hand, cut-side up to prevent the seeds from dropping into your cup. Add your lemon juice and water to the simple syrup and stir to combine. If you have the time, refrigerate your lemonade so it stays nice and cool once you add it to your iced glasses!  

Mint Basil Lemonade Blog

Herb Infused Lemonade Recipe

Ingredients (makes four servings)

  • 2 cups of fresh lemon juice (from about 12 – 15 lemons)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Herbed simple syrup

Herbed simple syrup

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup fresh basil, washed and stems removed
  • ½ cup fresh mint, washed and stems removed

Place your sugar, water, fresh basil and mint into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Let simmer for ten minutes. Remove it from the heat and let the simple syrup cool while the herbs steep. Once it’s cool, remove the herbs and pour the simple syrup into your serving pitcher.  

Juice your lemons and add the juice to the simple syrup. Mix in your water and add ice or set the lemonade in the refrigerator to chill as the flavors combine.

Serve in a chilled glass with lemons, basil and mint and enjoy!

Rosemary, Orgegano and Basil, Herbs

Easy to Grow Herbs

David Yost, Merrifield Plant Specialist

Herbs are a great way to take the plunge into growing your own edibles. They have a wide variety of uses, are easy to grow and fit very well even in small gardens! By establishing a herb garden on your patio, windowsill, or balcony you can reap the benefits of its fresh flavors and aromas all summer long.

Whether you are growing herbs indoors or out, it’s best to place them in a location where they will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.

The following are some of the easiest types of herbs to grow:

Basil

A fast-growing herb, basil is a favorite among gardeners of all levels. Known for its rich peppery flavor and fresh aroma, it makes a great addition to pizza, pasta, salads and sauces. Basil does not need quite as much sun as other herbs and likes to be kept moist. When growing basil, be sure to prune the flowering tops to allow new leaf growth.

Chives

In addition to great flavor, chives have beautiful blooms. The leaves give a light spring onion flavor. This is probably the easiest herb to grow! To harvest it, simply cut at the base of the plant, one to two inches above the soil,  as if trimming grass and bring your fresh cut chives right to the kitchen. Do not cut more than a third of the plant off at a time to allow healthy regrowth.

Mint

Mint gives off a strong aroma and flavor that can be used in appetizers, entrées, desserts and cocktails. Try adding it to homemade tzatziki or steeping to make tea. Mint is an aggressive spreader, so you will want to plant it separately from your other herbs in a pot or container. To harvest mint, cut the stems up to one inch from the ground or just pick the leaves as you need.

Rosemary

Delicious fresh and dried, rosemary brings wonderful flavor to your meat and poultry dishes all year long. This herb is drought tolerant and requires little maintenance, making it a great option for gardener’s who travel frequently or have a tendency to neglect their plants. There are many varieties of rosemary. Look for winter-hardy varieties such as Arp Rosemary, Trailing Rosemary and Salem Rosemary. When gathering rosemary, pick the new, fresh growth at the top of the plant, leaving the old stalk alone.

 Oregano

Oregano is a great choice if you love cooking Italian food. This herb’s flavor is strongest during the summer, and it is very to grow at home. You can harvest oregano leaves as you need them. The leaves have the best flavor flavor right before the flowers bloom in the summer.

Lavender

Lavender’s vibrant color and lovely scent will make your herb garden pop. This versatile herb can be used in baking, cooking, teas, candles and even in a variety of home remedies. It is very easy to grow, just plant it in well-drained soil and your lavender will flourish. When harvesting, treat it the same as rosemary, leaving the old stalk alone and cutting off newer growth.

Thyme

Thyme is great to use when cooking meats and vegetables. This low-maintenance herb thrives when you let it be and allow nature to take its course. Collect thyme leaves as you need them, although they will be packed with the most flavor in the summer just before the plants bloom.

Seven Tips for Growing Herbs

There’s nothing quite like the wonderful aromas and tastes of herbs you’ve grown at home. Whether you enjoy cooking with them, using them for their scent, or for other projects, herbs grown at home have a freshness and good taste you just can’t get from store bought. Thankfully, there are many options that are great for beginners.

If you are looking to grow herbs for the first time, this post will cover some of the key things you need to know.

Provide at Least 6 Hours of Sun

With the exception of basil, which likes a little shade, most herbs need at least 6 hours of sun per day. Choose a spot in your garden where they will get plenty of light.

Herb Container Garden Collection

Plant in Well-Draining Soil

If you are planting herbs in the ground, add VoleBloc or PermaTill to the soil to improve drainage and, if necessary, add lime to adjust the soil pH. If you’re planting them in container, use a potting mix that drains well. We recommend Merrifield Potting Mix, but there are plenty of other options to choose from.

Fertilize Lightly

Basil, once again, is the exception here. For all other herbs, fertilizing your plants once at the beginning of the growing season with an organic fertilizer, such as Plant Tone, is enough. It is best not to fertilize most herbs more than once. Basil, on the other hand, can be fertilized every 4-6 weeks.

Herb Garden

Plant Similar Herbs Together

When selecting locations for your plants, place those with similar light and water requirements together. For instance, rosemary, thyme and lavender all prefer to be kept slightly dry, while parsley, bail and Vietnamese coriander need consistent moisture.

Know Your Basil Varieties

One of the most popular herbs is basil, which comes in many different flavors, sizes, shapes and textures. Genovese sweet basil is the classic flavor for pesto and other Italian dishes. Thai basil is spicy. And lemon or lime basil add their own distinct flavor to your dishes. A popular, new variety is boxwood basil. It looks adorable – like a miniature boxwood – and its tiny leaves pack a strong scent. Pinch basil often throughout the year to remove flowers and keep the plants full.

Visit our basil growing guide for a full guide to growing this popular plant.

Separate Quick Spreading Herbs

Mint and its close relatives (lemon balm, horehound, catnip) should be planted in their own container(s). Mint is a hardy, perennial plant that can spread rapidly through the entire garden. You can prevent this from happening by planting it in a container.

Plant Your Cool Season Herbs at the Right Time

Cilantro, parsley, celery and dill all grow best when temperatures range between 50 and 70 degrees. When the temperature begins to warm up, these plants will start to bloom and will no longer produce flavorful leaves. This makes them a great choice for fall gardens, or to plant in the early spring.