At the farmers market on Saturday, a vendor was selling fresh chamomile. I had no idea what a person does with fresh chamomile, but it was a $1.50, smelled good, and looked pretty. I figured at the very least, $1.50 was a small price to pay for something that would look cute on my windowsill for a few days.
I had some time though so I wanted to find something to do with it. There are a handful of recipes floating around on the internets for chamomile. Nothing really struck my fancy, so I searched for lavender recipes, thinking that the two would be somewhat interchangeable.
Since I also had a huge bag of strawberries, this recipe for strawberries with lavender syrup on Epicurious intrigued me. I had to change it up to use things that I actually had in my fridge and because I wanted a cold, not warm, dessert. I was really pleased with the finished product. The chamomile adds this wonderfully sweet, floral taste to the syrup and it makes for a nice light, fresh spring dessert. The original recipe recommends serving it with sour cream or creme fraiche, but I had greek yogurt on hand, which worked really well and made it much healthier. It would probably be nice over vanilla ice cream as well.
Strawberries with Chamomile Syrup and Lemon Sugar
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
20 fresh chamomile flowers
1-2 pints of fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced
Greek yogurt, creme fraiche, ice cream, or sour cream to serve.
Mash 1/3 cup sugar and lemon peel in small bowl to blend well.
Bring 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, honey, and chamomile to boil in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until chamomile flavor is pronounced, about 3 minutes. Let the syrup cool and strain. Pour the syrup over the sliced strawberries.
I let the syrup sit for about an hour to macerate the berries a bit in it. With one pint of strawberries, the mixture is quite syrupy so feel free to add more if you’d like a thicker sauce.
Scoop about a half cup or so of Greek yogurt (or whatever creamy thing you are using) into bowls and spoon a couple spoonfuls of strawberries and syrup over the yogurt. Sprinkle a bit of lemon sugar on each bowl and serve.