Eat like a German - German Recipe:
Sweet Woodruff

Sweet Woodruff
[ source: Dans la foret]

Serves: 4

Prep time:
Cook time:
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A magical herb with an enchanting scent, said to be of good effect - in more ways than one: woodruff.


There's something magic, sweet, dangerous - and sometimes just green - to it. Woodruff, originally a wild herb from the forest which flowers in early summer and therefore also got the name of "Maikraut", may herb.

Should you encounter woodruff's fresh scent while out and about in the forest, follow it. The small herb with its white flowers typically grows on small clearings between the trees. For use in a "Maibowle" ("may's punch"), though, one needs plants which are not yet flowering but have flowers which are still closed.

Various stories are told about the plant, some superstitions adhere to it: it's said to help against witches, against the evil eye - but also to attract good luck. A twig in the wallet is supposed to bring riches, woodruff in the bedroom to give nice dreams.

The typical aroma only appears as the plant is drying out, though. So, woodruff bouquets are typically hung up to dry and release their heady scent.

True woodruff is not available all that often, so that the taste is mainly just known from the jelly. In Berlin, for the "Berlin white with a shot" - "Berliner Weisse mit Schuss," the typical light beer of Berlin, preferably served with a straw - it's a shot of woodruff syrup that gives the best taste.

So, should you find a bunch of woodruff on offer in a market or find it during a forest walk, go ahead and get it. First, hang it up so that it wilts a bit.

Then, cut off the stems, give the bunches into a large container and add white wine. Let it steep for only about 30 minutes, or the unhealthy coumarone will develop. Drain, put into a bowl for punch, add some sugar, white wine and sparkling wine, and set into the fridge.

I can still remember my grandmother making may punch for kids, too - with Seven Up instead of alcohol. It also tasted great.


You need one bunch of woodruff, two bottles dry white wine, one bottle of sparkling wine and some ice cubes. One should take care to use young twigs of woodruff prior to their flowering.


Let the woodruff wilt a bit; pour one bottle of white wine into a bowl. In order to not have the unhealthy contents of the woodruff get into the drink, hang it into the wine with a string so that the ends of its stems remain outside. Let steep for 20-30 minutes, then take the woodruff out. Add the remainder of the wine and the sparkling wine, and cool with the ice cubes. To make it sweeter, if you prefer that, use a sweeter wine or sparkling wine. Do not add sugar or schnapps.

Gaby Leeser
Gaby Leeser

This german recipe has been written and shared by Gaby Leeser. If you would also like to share a tasty german recipe, simply send us an email or post it on Facebook. We will review it and if accepted publish your here here in this Eat like a German recipe collection.

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