Herb of the Week - Anise Hyssop

Herb of the Week - Anise Hyssop

This week the herb of the week is Anise Hyssop (Agastache foenicuculum)
tall leafy anise hyssop plant with long purple flower spikes
This gorgeous perennial with spires of deep purple flowers is a combination of mint and licorice.  The leaves, especially early in the season, are very sweet. It is great at attracting bees and butterflies and for making tea. Considered a native plant in the Midwest, it grows well in shady locations even though it loves full sun. The plant can get 2 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide, so place them in the background of your garden. They need weekly water until established but will become drought tolerant after that. Although most often harvested for the leaves and flowers, one can also save the seed for use in cookies and muffins. The flowers can be dried upside down for use in winter arrangements.
Purple cone-shape anise hyssop flower heads
Steep the leaves and flowers in hot liquid such as milk, cream, or simple syrup to extract the flavor and then strain them out. Use the infused milk or cream to make custard or ice creams and the syrup for beverages, sorbets or for poaching fruit. The flavor is fabulous with raspberries, apricots, peaches and nectarines.

Scatter the small leaves or leaf tips in green salad or fruit salads.

Cut the plant back by half after the flowers fade and you can see another burst of blooms in the fall.

Greeting Tea
2 quarts water
1 large bunch of anise hyssop sprigs
1 large bunch of lemon verbena sprigs
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
3 Tbls mild honey

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in the herb branches. Bending the stems if needed. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and allow the herbs to steep 15 minutes. Strain into a large pitcher and stir in lemon juice and honey. Refrigerate until cold and serve over ice.
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