Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend Herb Blogging #116

Rinku from Cooking in Westchester is the host for this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week, I'll be using Lemon Verbena.

lemon verbena

Lemon Verbena is a highly aromatic deciduous tree festooned with these slender pea-green leaves that feel somewhat sticky and rough to the touch. Just a light brush of the leaves will reward you with an intriguing lemony scent which explains why it is a popular ingredient of pot pourri. Lemon verbena is also thought to help with digestion.

For today's recipe I'll be combining lemon verbena with that cooling and cleansing vegetable, cucumber, to create a refreshing Cucumber and Lemon Verbena Sorbet. With it's silken texture, even on the warmest of days, this will immediately re-hydrate and reinvigorate.

It's not overly sweet, there is still the upfront flavour of cucumber but the lemon verbena just gives it this mysterious and engaging lemon edge.

Cucumber and Lemon Verbena Sorbet

Cucumber and Lemon Verbena Sorbet

2 large Cucumbers
220 grams/1 cup caster sugar
250 mls/1 cup water
handful of lemon verbena leaves

Make the lemon verbena syrup:
Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then add the lemon verbena leaves. Let it gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge until ready to use. Keep the leaves in the syrup. Strain just before using.

Since you may not need to use all of the syrup in the sorbet you can store it, strained, in the fridge for a little while and use it wherever you would normally use a simple sugar syrup.

Make the sorbet:
Peel the cucumber and roughly cut it into pieces. I've decided to remove the peel as it can be a bit bitter.

Place the cucumber pieces into a blender and process until smooth. Strain this through a fine sieve. Measure the liquid and add an equal measure of the lemon verbena syrup.

Stir well and allow to thoroughly chill before pouring it into the bowl of your ice cream maker - following the manufacturers instructions. This took about 35 minutes.

Transfer into a freezer proof dish and place it in the freezer for a few hours before serving.

cucumber and lemon verbena sorbet



  1. I have this in my garden (or at least I did; I have no idea if it will survive the winter!) When I'm out in the garden I simply can't stop myself from rubbing the leaves to get the aroma of this plant. This sounds so light and refreshing; just delicious.

  2. Lemon verbena rocks! I have a tree (now indoors) and watch for more recipes with it in 2008, I'm started to see it used more & more.

  3. This looks so delicious and refreshing. Where can you get a hold of lemon verbena? I don't have a tree (unlike the lucky ones who posted before me), and I don't think I've ever seen it at the store.

  4. Absolutely perfect photos! I don't care if it's -15C outside, I want some of this!

  5. Sorbet looks and sounds delicious! Wish I could taste it..

  6. Wow, does this ever look good. Gorgeous, drool-worthy photos. Yum!

  7. I really like the photos and the sorbet sounds intriguing. I never would have thought to use cucumber, but I could see how that would be a great way to end a meal refreshed. Looks good!

  8. Lemon verbena is so wonderful, fresh and uplifting. Where do you find it? I'd love to try this. Beautiful photo too.

  9. Thanks Kalyn - I hope it survives the winter I can truly understand how delightful it must be to have it in the garden.

    Look forward to the lemon verbena recipes Peter!

    Thanks Becky - I get this from one of the organic grocers I visit which doesn't really help you as it's here in Australia. I'd probably look into getting a plant and if you don't have space outdoors, it will grow indoors in a pot.

    Thanks Brilynn!

    Thanks Y - I'd offer you some but it's almost gone.

    Thanks Laurie!

    Thanks Mike - it's a good cleanser but it's equally nice when you feel like something fresh and light during the day.

    Thanks Julia - Ripe the Organic Grocer in Prahran market generally has it but I have no idea where you would find it in Amsterdam ;)

  10. This sounds so refreshing, and healthy too!

  11. omg this is by far the most stunning pictures i have ever seen. i can imagine how rereshing and dlicious this is. WOW!

  12. Cool! thanks for the tip : )

  13. Thanks Poonam - it's extremely refreshing!

    Thank you so much Aria that is so kind of you!

    My pleasure LadyIronChef!

  14. Dear Haalo it's wintery cold here but you made me want some sorbet:) Can I use dried verbena leaves instead of fresh, or wont't it be worth it?

  15. Pretty pictures and very interesting (and refreshing!) flavor combination! I'll try it once things warm back up here (brr!)

  16. What a refreshing combination for summertime! I love lemon verbena. Last summer I made ice cream with a big branch of it, and it was just marvelous.

  17. Thanks Heart - i've never used dried lemon verbena leaves but in theory you should be able to use them as you are just using them to infuse the syrup with their flavour. I can't say if it will be exactly the same type of flavour but probably worth experimenting.

    Thanks Sara - hopefully the weather will warm up sooner rather than later for you.

    That sounds so delicious Bri!

  18. This looks absolutely stunning - and refreshing! As usual, your photos are luscious and tempting. I'd love to give this a try.

  19. Thank you Dayna - it is a most refreshing way to see out the hot weather.

  20. This makes me water at the mouth...
    It's not sorbet season where I am but I would like to try this some time!

  21. Thanks Plume - hope you get a chance to try it soon!


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