Syrup from Coleus amboinicus, commonly known as Indian borage
We all know that Indian borage is a medicinal plant but did you know that you can make a syrup out of it? Read on and we shall tell you how. It gets even better – you can do both cooked and uncooked syrup. Both methods have their pros and cons and you can use both of them as any syrup or you may use it as a sweetener.
First, you need to get an extract from the plant – a day before cooking.Pick 20 to 30 leaves, chop them and put them into a pot together with two sliced lemons (use organic lemons or wash and scrub the peel well) . Pour water in the pot, usually one litter of water to make sure that all leaves and lemon slices are submerged. Cover with a lid and let it sit until the next day.
Strain the extract through a thick sieve. Squeeze out as much juice as possible, put it in a pot and bring the drained liquid to a boil. Add about 1 kg of sugar. Cook and stir occasionally. Cooking time is rather long and the resulting syrup should have a reddish (copper) colour.One hour should be enough, but depending on the extract you may be cooking for up to two hours. The start is slow but do not let the pot unattended. The evaporation process is slow at the beginning but towards the end it gets faster and faster and it is very easy to evaporate all the liquid… Check the thickness of the syrup by dripping the liquid on a cold plate (you may put the plate in the fridge first for example). If the drop holds its shape, you are done.
Pour the cooked syrup into glasses. Best are dark glasses, brown for example. Close them tightly with lids and turn them upside down. Store in a cool place.Cooked syrup will last a pretty long time (about one year) – much more than uncooked syrup. The unfortunate thing is that cooking will destroy many beneficial nutrients.
You can make uncooked syrup but you need plenty of leaves – around 50 per one dose. If you can, try making the syrup on sunny days, because the sugar dissolves better when the ambient temperature is wormer. But you do not need sun.Cut the leaves and 2 lemons (or limes or oranges) into slices and add about 1 kg of sugar into a large sealable jar or glass. Best if you add the sugar in layers. Close the glass tightly and leave it outside on your window. After a while the sugar dissolves and in two to three weeks, the contents will liquefy. Strain the syrup and poor it in glasses and cover with lids. Store in a fridge.
Preview photo: Pixabay
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