Lemon Verbena Sugar / by Judy Kim

by Judy Kim

Lemon Verbena Sugar

Lemon Verbena Sugar

Yield: 1 cup

This recipe came about because I bought a lemon verbena plant at the Union Square Farmers Market for my *NYC rooftop garden. I had no idea what I wanted it for, but knew I loved the fragrance. Maybe I'd used it in a cup of tea but otherwise there were no plans. One of the things I love about growing random but beautiful things in the garden is to extend my pantry. A fresh pantry, if you will. I created this herbaceous sugar because I wanted to incorporate the leaves into an olive oil cake. More on that cake later when the recipe is finished. Meanwhile, this recipe is so short that this headnote now seems ridiculous.

I dedicate this to all the people who, like me, get carried away when buying plants and have no actual clue as to how they might use them. Go ahead, buy away! It's amazing to have little bits of herbs like Thai basil or lemongrass at your fingertips. They'll come in handy when you want to create a herbed or compound butter, forage fresh cake decorations, make cocktails and simple syrups or fragrant sugars in this case. I bet this would be good on the rim of my next cocktail.

*It's a building shared roof garden that brings me so much happiness. In such a busy congested city, it's an oasis. I along with my friends and neighbors Kristen Angelilli and Marc Forgione built it and care for it. Job description: Part-time Urban Farmer who hauls water up daily because there's no water source. Yes, it's a huge hassle. But totally worth it.


In the bowl of a mini prep or food processor add all ingredients and blend until mixture is finely ground.

Note: If you want more flavor add more leaves or combine with another complimentary herb. Use this ratio to help create larger batches of herbed sugar. Keep in refrigerator.


2 cups sugar

3 sprigs lemon verbena, stems removed

zest of 1 lemon (meyer lemon if possible)






Ceramics: Jono Pandolfi

Photography Surface: Erickson Woodworks