Lavender Lemonade: A Cool Change from the Ordinary

 

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! 

Tea meets lavender and 2012 resolutions

Happy New Year! We are ringing in 2012 with our first home-grown tea blend with lavender and hints of peppermint and orange zest. Come springtime I'll have it available at the farmers market. Actually, the word infusion is a more accurate description than tea since our blend doesn't contain tea at all. Infusions can be a single herb or a blend of herbs. I have become a fan. Sure, I'm biased toward lavender but the novelty of a tea ball (see the photo) and experimenting with different herbs from the garden has been fun. The flavor is refreshing, and something about a hot cup of tea on a cool morning is comforting. I suppose it's my cold weather lavender therapy.

Long a staple in the South, my family drank sweet iced tea in abundance when I was growing up. My mother makes the world's best sweet tea. So, call me a convert. Now, I like my tea hot and straight up (no sugar or additives required).  

On the farm, the lavender plants, just over 600 at this writing, are tucked in and appear to be happy. It has been a mild winter so far and that makes us happy, too. This year I'll be adding to the vegetable garden. I have doubled the space and lately have been hauling in composted straw by the wheelbarrow. I expect to be at the farmers market more often in 2012, and we hope to have a farm dinner this summer around lavender bloom time. Stay tuned for more on this.

Give me a call if you want to drop by for a visit this month...I'd love to offer you some darned good (hot) tea! May your new year be prosperous.