Last weekend was sunny, beautiful and deserving of something with flowers and fruit. I have decided that this summer will be my summer of mixing different flavors with lemons and limes to make all sorts of new “-ades.” A new Martha Stewart juicer may have something to do with that.
So I went to a favorite flavor that I rarely cook with – lavender. I researched a dozen different recipes until I found one adapted from Cooking Light, which creates a lavender tea with actual lavender leaves, rather than the little purple flowers. Although the tea smells like soap while you’re making it, the fresh lemon juice and sugar syrup will balance that for a refreshing drink (that also happens to go well with vodka, btw!).
Ingredients (Makes 4-5 servings):
- 4 cups water, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh lavender leaves (you can find these at Whole Foods, or your garden!)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
- Lavender stems and buds, for garnish (optional)
Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Combine the boiling water and lavender in a medium bowl; cover and steep 30 minutes. Strain the lavender mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard lavender leaves.
Combine 3 cups water and sugar in saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. Combine lavender water, sugar syrup, and lemon juice in a pitcher. Cover and chill. Serve over ice. Garnish lemonade with lavender stems, if desired.
I still think I’ll play with this recipe a bit because I want a stronger lavender essence without the soapy effect – it’s a very fine line, which you would know if you’ve ever cooked with lavender. Next time, I’ll try it with the flowers instead. Other flavors to come: lemon thyme, rosemary and sage. Maybe a basil limeade? Can’t wait to get my herb garden going!
Enjoy, friends! xoxo