This past Saturday, I took a big cooler of lavender lemonade to the farmers market for folks to sample. It was a scorcher outside, so the lemonade was a big hit. I suppose everyone has their favorite way of making lemonade, and I've discovered that lavender lemonade is still a bit of a novelty. Since I'm a tad obsessed with lavender, I prefer to use it all the time now when making lemonade. While both the leaves and buds of the lavender plant can be used, my preference is to use lavender buds, and, more specifically, Hidcote lavender buds. This particular lavender produces a pretty, naturally-colored pink beverage. While other varieties of culinary lavender buds can be used, the end result may be a lighter shade of pink. If only the leaves are used, the lavender will not be pink at all. On Saturday, a perceptive taster referred to my lemonade as "lavenade." I've included the recipe, along with a short video demonstrating the "magic" of lavender.
Place 4 cups water and 1/2 cup strained, fresh lemon juice in a pitcher; set aside. Combine 1 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp. hidcote lavender buds, and grated zest of 2 lemons in the bowl of a food processor; cover, and process for 1 minute. Transfer lavender-sugar mixture to a small saucepan, and add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat; strain, and discard solids. Add sugar mixture to pitcher, and stir to combine. Chill thoroughly before serving. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh lavender sprigs, if desired. Enjoy!