Monday, June 25, 2012

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade, from 

Our lavender, hiding among the allyssum


4 tbsps (1/4 cup) culinary lavender
 2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
2 cups cold water

Note: Culinary lavender is lavender harvested for the purposes of cooking/eating. Or in other words, there aren't nasty sprays or preservatives used on this. Honestly, I'd just try to grow it yourself. Cheaper that way, eh? The type of lavender most often used in cooking is English Lavender, which is the type we have in our garden.

 Also, if you want your lemonade to turn pink (which is what this stuff does), you need to get the hidcote variety (that English lavender, again); that's the only one that turns it pink.

1. Steep the lavender in the 2 cups of boiling water for 15 minutes.
2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth, then discard the lavender.
3. Pour the agave syrup into the lavender liquid. If it doesn't dissolve, you may need to heat it briefly to help dissolve the agave syrup.
4. Stir in the lemon juice. This is where it will turn a bright, brilliant pink if you have the right kind of lavender. To see an example of this, you can look at the images from the original recipe at UseRealbutter.
5. Stir in the cold water.
6. Add more to water taste. This recipe was very concentrated, almost better as a syrup to mix with something else, so I added a fair amount of water.

Recipe adapted from here, with only a sweetener changed:

How it turned out: 
It was too concentrated for us, seriously. I added tons of water. However, I also didn't try the actual recipe. We made 1/12 the recipe, because that's all the lavender we had - just a tiny plant with a few flowers.

Our teeny bit of lavender, less than a Tablespoon

With that little, it didn't work so well. With the pared down recipe, we had so little water that it didn't retain its warmth long enough to steep, so the water wasn't even colored after steeping. I think if I had to do it with little water next time, I might keep it on the stove on low to keep it warm enough to steep properly.

Ours never turned pink, either. I found out, after some research, that the lavender I thought was English lavendar actually wasn't, it was a French variety, so oops on that one. We'll have to plant what I know is English Lavender and try it again in the fall.  Still, the lemonade tasted like lemonade, and that's pretty darn good by itself, anyway! :-)

Edit 2/8/14:
After reading more about agave syrup and how similar it is to corn syrup, and seeing a change on our agave syrup bottle that went from listing sugars and fiber to listing more sugar and no fiber remaining, I not longer use it. In this case, I'd use honey, date sugar, coconut sugar, or other sweetener of your choice.

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