Lemon Verbena Granita

My lemon verbena has grown so much that it needs to be put to use. The fact is this must be the third or fourth blooming if you can call it that. The first and only time I used it was for crepes way back in March. After that, the leaves just withered and died but somehow constant watering seems to work and I'll just see it back to life again. And I feel guilty over and over again. Poor thing is the first one I see on my way out of the house and back every day because I have to pass through the porch where it stays with my other herbs.

But today being hot and humid I think the time is perfect to make another frozen treat using my neglected lemon verbena. It is also my way of pacing myself after getting sick- sort of testing the waters if I'm ready to go back to work. Just a simple cold treat to quench my thirst and help cool me down without wearing myself out with the preparation. What could be the easiest thing to make but granita? Here goes:

Lemon Verbena Granita
recipe adapted here

8 large sprigs of fresh lemon verbena
4 tbsp light agave nectar or simple syrup
1 large lemon
3 cups boiling water
additional lemon verbena leaves for garnish

Wash the lemon verbena under cold water. Shake off excess water.
Zest the lemon or peel off the yellow part only with a vegetable peeler.
Juice the lemon.

Bring the water to a boil and put into a bowl with the verbena and lemon zest. Smash the leaves down a bit if they are floating above the water. Let steep for 10-15 minutes. Take out the leaves and peel (if not zested) and put in the lemon juice and agave nectar or simple syrup (add more if you want it sweeter). Strain through a sieve to take out any leaf bits or lemon seeds.

Transfer into a Pyrex dish or any flat bottomed plastic container and freeze for about two hours taking it out every 20-30 minutes to scrape any ice crystals that have formed on the side or bottom of the container. Once mixture is thoroughly frozen, fluff with a fork and serve in goblets and garnish with extra lemon verbena leaves. Add more agave nectar or simple syrup if needed.

I kid you not- this is soooooooo good!


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