Lemon verbena is an herb with an amazing citrus flavor. Get tips on making a special, homemade frozen yogurt with helpful hints from an organic gardener in this free video on garden-to-table cooking.
Hi, I'm Willi, and I'm Jon. And we are the hosts of "Grow, Cook, Eat." And today, we are working with lemon verbena. Yes, a very delicious herb. Because this is that herb that the leaves taste like lemon. Yes they do, they taste just like lemon. And we are going to use the leaves to infuse some simple syrup and make homemade cereal. Now, this is exciting. Let's get this started. OK. I love lemon verbena. It is one of my very favorite herbs because it has this amazing citrusy flavor. It doesn't smell like cleaner at all. It's just very bright and fresh and it's easy to grow. You can buy start from the nursery, typically in spring. You want to look for one that's fairly bushy and then I like to grow lemon verbena in containers. I took just a good potting mix, filled it up to withing about an inch of the top of the pot and planted the lemon verbena here in the back. And to harvest lemon verbena, it's really pretty easy. You want to use scissors because it has fairly stiff stems, so it's hard to make a clean pinch. And you want to always make your cut right above a set of leaves because there's these little teeny buds that are hard to see in there that will turn into branches if you clip off the top of the plant right above them. And today we're going to need about a quarter cup of leaves, so I'm going to go ahead and make a few cuts right there. And I leave about a third of the stem below for where I make my cut, just to insure that there's plenty of leaves there for photosynthesis and that the plant can keep growing fast and strong throughout the season. I think I have enough of the verbena here. I'm going to go ahead and take it inside and I'm going to use these wonderful leaves to infuse their flavor into some simple syrup and then we're going to stir that into yogurt and make homemade frozen yogurt. The first step when you make homemade frozen yogurt is to make a simple syrup. For this simple syrup, I'm going to use four cups water, and I'm just going to pour it into the sauce pan here. And then I'm going to use two cups of sugar in the sauce pan, whisking as I go. To help speed along the dissolving process, I'm just going to light the stove and give it a good stir here. I'm just going to stir it until the sugar's completely dissolved and the syrups clear. The sugar actually dissolves pretty fast, and as soon as it's running clear here, I'm going to add in the lemon verbena. And I've got a half cup of lemon verbena. I washed it and I finely chopped it. And as I add it into the simple syrup, I'm just going to give it a good squeeze to help release the essential oils. And that'll just insure that the lemon verbena really starts to start flavoring, and then I'm just going to stir it around here for about a minute. That will help the leaves really just release all their delicious flavor into the syrup. Now, I'm going to pour the hot syrup back into the measuring cup and then I'm going to stick it in the fridge and let it cool down, so that it's nice and chilled. And then we'll combine it with the yogurt and make the homemade frozen yogurt. You can see that the syrups already beginning to take on a little bit of a golden hue and that's comes from the lemon verbena leaves. And then I'll put that into the fridge and in a little bit we'll be back to make the yogurt. Homemade frozen yogurt is so easy to make. You just need yogurt and simple syrup. I like to use a whole fat pourable. So, I use Straus which is the brand which is available in Portland. But if you can 't find Straus, look for one that's pours like this, that doesn't have a ton of stabilizers in it. And you want to put in a full 32 ounce container. So, that's four cups of yogurt. And then I'm just going to add to the yogurt, I'm going to add the simple syrup. So, I'm going to strain it out, and I'm going to put in two cups. So, I'm going to strain out and then I'm going to pour that into the yogurt. I'm going to dump out the leaves and then we'll go ahead and do the second cup. Put that in, and then I'm just going to go ahead and whisk the simple syrup and the yogurt together. Once that's ready, I'm going to go ahead and put it in my freezer bowl which is frozen, on to the ice cream maker and then pour in the yogurt mixture. And then on my maker you have to put this little plastic shield over the top and then turn it on. And we're just going to churn it until it's frozen. So, that usually takes about twenty minutes. And after that we'll have to transfer it to a container and let it continue to firm up in the freezer. OK. So, the frozen yogurt is pretty frozen here in the ice cream maker. You can eat it right now if you really wanted to. But I like it to be a little bit more frozen, and so for that you have to finish it up in the actual freezer. So, I'm going to take out the paddle, and then I'm just going to transfer the frozen yogurt into this container here. And this is just a quart size container, or six cup container, I think it is. So, I like to stick it in the freezer and then give it a stir a couple times while freezing up, you know, once an hour or so. So, I'm going to stick it in the freezer and then when it's nice and hard we'll go ahead and have some for dessert. Hi, Will. Can I dish it up for you? Yeah, please. All right. It's so nice to have homemade frozen yogurt on a hot day. Yeah. That is nice. Is that enough? Can I have some blueberries? All right. Well, I'm going to try it. I think you're going to like it. OK. You cannot buy a frozen yogurt that tastes like this. That was delicious. You should make dessert more often. Yeah. Well, I think that the secret ingredient, the lemon verbena really makes it special. Because that's just not a flavor you're going to find in most places. So, we hope the video inspires you to grow lemon verbena because it really is delicious and it's so fun to make homemade frozen yogurt. And thank you for all your comments this season. We really appreciate them and we're trying to incorporate them into most of our episodes. And we hope that over the winter you'll check into my blog, digginfood.com. where put out pictures of our garden and lots of seasonal recipes. So, thanks for coming. We'll see you next time.