“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors
and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” -Alfred E. Newman
Recipe source: my mother
As a follow-up to my last post on summery picnic foods, I bring you my mother’s lavender lemonade. Two summers ago, we took a trip to Green Acres Lavender Farm in Atascadero, CA and my mom picked up two lavender plants that are doing very well today. She came up with this recipe as a way to use some of the flowers. What brilliance! (Jump to recipe)
The thing that makes this lemonade a lavender lemonade is a simple syrup infused with lavender flowers. I think making infusions is a really neat thing in cooking, because it’s so easy but brings out so much flavor, and you can create some of the same things at home on the cheap that you would pay a high price for in a gourmet market. (See my post on rosemary popcorn for another example.)
First, make a syrup by boiling 2 1/2 cups of filtered water, then removing from heat and stirring in 1/2 cup of sugar until it dissolves. Then add 1 tablespoon of lavender, cover, and leave to infuse 30 minutes.
While the lavender is releasing all its floral goodness, squeeze enough lemons into a 2 qt pitcher for 1 cup of juice. I’d recommend Myer lemons for this, if you can get your hands on some.
Strain lavender and add syrup to lemon juice, then top with water to fill pitcher.
Depending on the tartness of your lemons, you may want more or less sweetness from the syrup. If you’re concerned about too much sweetness, add the syrup gradually. If anything, you will most likely want more sweetness. In that case, you can add plain simple syrup, which I’d recommend having on-hand anyway, as it’s great for mixing into all sorts of beverages. You can make a simple syrup by dissolving 1 part sugar into 1 part water.
This lavender-infused syrup is also great for mixing into tea, sparkling water, or cocktails. In the case of tea, I prefer a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, but you’ll figure out your preferences as you go.
Enjoy this one, and happy summer!
Note for San Diegans: I found my culinary lavender at a great little herb shop in Ocean Beach, In Harmony Herbs & Spices. I have also seen it at World Market, and I’d imagine Whole Foods carries it as well.
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
Icewater to fill pitcher (4 cups)
Dissolve sugar in boiling water. Add lavender flowers, remove from heat, and cover. Allow lavender to steep in syrup for 15 minutes to an hour, depending on desired strength. Combine lavender syrup with lemon juice in a large pitcher and fill remaining space with icewater.
Make lavender iced tea by mixing lavender-infused simple syrup (1 pt water, 1 pt sugar) with freshly brewed black tea.
Mix lavender simple syrup into lemon sparkling water or use it to sweeten cocktails.