Friday, July 23, 2010

Lavender Lemonade and Other Variations On A Theme

I dearly love real, homemade lemonade and we keep a pitcher freshly-made in our refrigerator all summer long.

Yes, I know, it requires sugar, and quite a bit, to taste good; though I do use much less than commercially prepared products (and absolutely no high-fructose corn syrup, which is in almost all store-bought lemonades!) Of course you could use agave or stevia or whatever sweetener suits your fancy - Rant away about sugar and it's unhealthful properties if you feel the need, we all have our vices and this is unapologetically mine.

Now - your basic lemon-sugar-and-water beverage is indeed refreshing, but I love adding other flavor elements as well, especially lavender! The recent Lavender Festival in a neighboring town reminded me how much I drank of this beverage last summer and started the trend all over for the summer. Favorites in our family actually include mint, basil, ginger or lavender (not all at once - though that might be interesting!) all of which add a distinct, but not over-powering taste that turns plain lemonade into something new and different!

I also love nasturtium blossoms, but the subtle peppery flavor in their lemonade is not a hit with my kids, so I'll leave that one up to you.

If you haven't had the pleasure, (and real, homemade lemonade over ice in a tall glass is a simple pleasure all it's own) you owe it to yourself to break out of the summer-time rut and try a uniquely flavored, homemade lemonade soon!!

Basic Lemonade

Light Sugar Syrup
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 cups water

Put water and sugar in small pan on stove and bring to a boil, stir well to make sure all sugar is dissolved and turn off heat.

Lemonade
2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice - about 10 lemons (or lime, or combination, but ABSOLUTELY use fresh squeezed here)
water
1 thinly sliced lemon

In large pitcher, stir in sugar syrup and lemon juice. Add enough water to make one gallon.
Add sliced lemon and chill. Serve over ice.
(If this is too sweet or sour add more water or sugar to taste).

And now, some variations on the lemonade theme (these amounts are for a gallon, if you're not sure you'll like it, maybe start with half a recipe?):

Basil Lemonade:
Add 3/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves to sugar syrup as soon as it comes off the heat. Let steep for 1/2 hour or longer (up to overnight) and strain. Use in lemonade as directed, you can add a few leaves to the lemonade if you want but the basil flavor becomes more pronounced the longer the leaves are in the lemonade.

Lavender Lemonade:
Add 1/4 cup fresh lavender flowers to the sugar syrup as soon as you remove from heat. Let steep 1/2 hour or longer to develop flavor. Strain and use as directed.

Mint Lemonade:
Stir 1 - 2 cups chopped fresh mint leaves into sugar syrup as soon as you remove from heat. Let steep 1/2 hour or longer to develop flavor. Strain and use as directed.

Ginger Lemonade:
Stir 1/4 cup fresh grated ginger root into the sugar syrup as soon as you remove from heat. Let steep 1/2 hour or longer to develop flavor. Strain and use as directed.

Nasturtium Blossom:
Stir 1 cup clean, un-treated nasturtium petals into the sugar syrup as soon as you remove from heat. Let steep 1/2 hour or longer to develop flavor. Strain (though I usually don't here) and use as directed.

You can see a pattern here. Obviously all these flavors can be changed-up according to your family's tastes. The sky (or your herb garden)'s the limit. Enjoy.

6 comments:

Rose said...

This sounds wonderful! What fun ideas! I made basil lemonade last summer, but now I'm going to have to try all your other variations (poor me LOL) :)

Dianne said...

I love lavender-flavored things! Thank you for the lovely ideas!

Jackie said...

Mmm lemonade...

Right now I am so addicted to the "Shaken Passion Ice Tea Lemonade" at Starbucks.

XOXO

Jenny said...

I've never really used flowers as food, but I always want to! I don't even know where to buy the; I've looked around with no luck??

吳淑芬吳淑芬 said...

你不能左右天氣,但你可以改變心情.................................................................

mangocheeks said...

I've made lavender lemonade recently, I like the suggestion of some of the variations, especially basil. Not sure about the nasturtium

Have your tried rosemary lemonade?