For the Love of Lavender: Lemonade Gets a Stylish Makeover

It's remarkable to me the ever-changing landscape of a farm. Late April, early May is my favorite time. The lavender is greening up and it's almost as if the whole field has suddenly emerged out of a deep sleep. With the days getting warmer, I've had lavender lemonade on my mind, so when we made our annual trek to the Herb Festival at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market this past weekend, we carried along a large cooler. Many people requested the recipe, so here it is.

First, let's start with the lavender plant. There are tons of varieties grown and only a handful of them are eaters. While this point might be arguable, my preferred best choice is 'hidcote,' an English lavender. The recipe uses lavender leaves, although I snipped up a few stems, too. Lavender buds can also be used, in which case you'll end up with a lovely pink lavender lemonade. See the following link: /blog/category/recipes?currentPage=3 

Over the weekend, a few people asked about using a sugar substitute. I'm not a fan of any artificial sweetener, but I do know this. As soon as my stevia plant produces enough green foliage, I intend to experiment with some snipped stevia leaves as a stand-in for part of the sugar. Stevia, aka sugar plant, is naturally sweet and can lend a surprisingly sweet quality. Many thanks to those of you who stopped by to see us last Saturday. Enjoy the recipe! Enjoy the lavender!    

Lavender Lemonade 

10 cups water, divided

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup fresh-picked lavender leaves, coarsely snipped

2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained

Fresh lavender stems and lemon slices for garnish

Combine 5 cups water, sugar, and lavender leaves in a saucepan; bring mixture to a slow boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and immediately turn off heat. Cover and let stand for 3 to 4 hours (the longer it stands the more pronounced the lavender flavor will be). Strain mixture into a large pitcher, discarding lavender leaves. Stir in remaining 5 cups water and lemon juice. Cover and place in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Give it a stir before serving. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh lavender stems and lemon slices.