Tuesday, September 10, 2019

How Tuesday - Making Herbed Sugar

Sugar conserving or flavored sugars are created when leaves of herbs are layered or blended into sugar to make a sweet or savory ingredient for cooking and seasoning.  They have a flavor shelf life of about 3 to 4 months once herbs are infused, but never spoil.

Making an herb flavored sugar is one of the easiest things to do with your herb harvest and it is sooo tasty.  It makes a great gift and a perfect ingredient in sugar cookies or other baked goods.

I use herb sugar to create Lavender brownies, Rose Geranium cookies, and to flavor my herbal tea.

Placed in decorative jars you can put Herbed Sugar in gift baskets with baking mixes, teas or other gifts. Or combine several flavors to craft a tower of flavor for a friend and include recipes for the use of your creations.   No matter how you use herbed sugar, it is a wonderful way to preserve the flavor of fresh herbs well into the winter months.  And that can be worth more than gold when the snow is deep and the wind is howling!

How to make Herbed Sugar

You can use Turbano raw sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, or traditional refined white sugar.

Turbinado sugar differs from more common sugars because it comes from the first pressing of sugar cane and therefore retains more of the plant’s flavor and natural molasses. The syrup that’s released from this pressing is boiled to form crystals, which are then spun to separate them from any remaining liquid. These crystals are coarser, darker, and more well-rounded in flavor than granulated or brown sugar because they’re less processed. This slightly rich, molasses flavor is what makes this option so appealing and has many people reaching for turbinado over granulated sugar.

Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content (natural brown sugar), or it is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar (commercial brown sugar).

Coconut Sugar is a sugar created from cocoanut palms.  It has a stronger coconut flavor but is very similar and can be used interchangeably with processed white sugar.

Refined sugar is a term used for sugar extracted from plants.  Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. The various types of sugar are derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose, and galactose. "Table sugar" or "granulated sugar" refers to sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants, but sucrose is especially concentrated in sugarcane and sugar beet, making them ideal for efficient commercial extraction to make refined sugar.

Sugar conserving or Sugar Flavoring 

I actually prefer to use refined sugar to make a flavored sugar because it has been so refined that the original molasses flavors are gone and it becomes a blank canvas for infusing the flavor of herbs.  It is perfect for this project.

Herbs to use to flavor sugar

scented geranium
fragrant basils 
are good candidates for sugar conserving. 

Steps to make Herbed Sugar

Method number 1
Pour 1/2 inch of sugar into a clean glass or nonreactive container. 
Place leaves across the surface. 

Cover completely with a 1/4- to 1/2-inch layer of sugar. Add another layer of herbs, then another layer of sugar. 

Repeat until all the leaves are covered (or the container is full). 
Make sure the top layer of sugar completely covers herbs. Seal the container. 

Store in a cool spot in your house in about 2 weeks, remove the now dry herb leaves from  he sugar.  Sift out any small broken plant bits and repackage for storage or gift giving.

Method Number 2
This method is quick and easy and gets you a product you can use instantly.  

For this you need a blender or food processor.  
Add 1 large handful of herb leaves to the blender or food processor.  (I use a coffee mill.)
Pulse until the herbs are well chopped (giving you a Tablespoon of chopped herbs.) 

Add 1 cup sugar and pulse until well blended.

The herbs will color the sugar which will be very fine in structure, like caster sugar, giving it a nice look, but there will be bits of herb in the sugar making it less useful for flavoring tea or coffee, but perfect for baking.


  1. I had bought several geranium plants online...rose, nutmeg, apricot, Apple and lemon...and enjoy smelling them...but this is the first I've seen grinding them in sugar...this seems way to simple. Do you think I can use all of my "flavored" geranium plants and not just the "rose" version? Also does the grinded version always stay green, as germanium leaves do turn brown on the plant... I made rose rhubarb jam and that was a fun treat, but it had me remove the leaf before canning. Thank you

    1. It can get a brownish tinge after a while. I recommend using method number 1 for scented geranium leaves, as the resulting sugar has no plant residue in it and the thick leaves from geranium are easy to remove once they dry. And you can use any of your scented geranium leaves to make sugar. I have never grown apricot, I think that would make an awesome sugar! Good luck, Marcy


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