This herb smells like black licorice and in fact has some chemicals in common with licorice, but the scent also has notes of lemon, pine, sage, black pepper, and camphor giving it a complex scent and flavor. The leaves or flowers are edible and can be used to sweeten tea or flavor sugar or quickbreads and muffins (add 1/2 cup chopped fresh flowers). Lightly minty with a note of licorice, this perennial’s profusion of blossoms throughout a long growing season makes it an ideal edible flower. Trim the flower heads and use fresh or dried in herb tea, or separate the tiny flowers from the main stem to dot over the top of a fruit salad or garnish a summer cucumber soup.
Anise Hyssop Syrup
20 leaves (1 handful) anise hyssop 1 cup sugar 1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain and refrigerate.
Strawberry Anise Cocktail
1/2 oz anise hyssop syrup 3 oz vermouth 1 oz vodka
2 ripe strawberries, washed w/stems removed
Place ice and all ingredients except the strawberries into a cocktail shaker. Place a fine mesh strainer over the cocktail shaker and press the strawberries through it with the back of a spoon to “juice” them into the shaker. Shake until nice and cold and strain into a glass.
Use the syrup in the above recipe to make cough drops. You can use raw sugar or brown sugar instead of white sugar and it will work just as well. Instead of pouring your strained hot syrup into a bottle, keep boiling it. Every minute or so, drop a bit of it into cold water to test it. When it forms a hard ball in the cold water, immediately take the saucepan off the heat. Pour your very thick syrup into a buttered flat dish. Cool, then cut into small squares.
A dusting of powdered sugar will keep them from sticking together. Store airtight in a cool place.
Strawberry Anise Jelly – An Original Recipe Christine, lifesalasagna. blogspot.com
Makes about 8-9 4-ounce jars (about 4 half pints)
4 lbs fresh strawberries
2 cups sugar
12-14 large (24-30 small) Anise Hyssop leaves gently rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
Stack Anise Hyssop leaves on a cutting board and slice into wide 1/4-3/8″ chiffonade. Add to large 6-8 quart pot with the sugar, give it a stir. Wash, trim and chop your strawberries, adding them to the pot, stirring occasionally as you work. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. When the berries are starting to cook and just before they reach a simmer, give them a good smashing with a potato masher or back of a large spoon. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir gently occasionally.
Remove from heat and begin draining berries in small batches. Stir gently with fork and remove all of the Anise Hyssop herbs and unripened strawberries that did not cook down. Do not press solids as you do not want any in your liquid. Return liquid to the stove on high heat and bring to a full boil. Boil liquid down by about half, stirring often. This will take about 20-25 minutes.
Return the strawberry solids to the pot and add the lemon juice. Stir well and reduce heat until a gentle simmer can be maintained. Stir frequently so that it does not scorch until a small dab of jam placed on a frozen plate, and returned to the freezer for about a minute, is firm. It will not gel but will have a nice, non-runny consistency. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
Not canning: Pour into sterile hot jars and allow too cool before refrigerating. Use within 1-2 weeks.
Canning: Pour into sterile hot 4 ounce jars, 3/8″ headspace and process for 5 minutes.
You can make this in smaller batches by reducing the recipe and sticking to proportions: 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 4-6 Anise Hyssop leaves to each 1 lb of strawberries.