Yesterday was a record-breaking hot day in and around Southern California and I just wanted to get outside! The hubby was working late, so after finishing my errands, chores, and work for the day, I decided to get outside in the garden - which, sad to say, hasn't received the love and attention it should this season. I blame the frequent jet-setting, amongst other things! I got down and dirty for a good 4 hours pulling weeds, building an amateur "fence" of branches for my neighbors grapevine to climb on, singing to my plants, and cleaning up the compost.
Whilst in the garden, tending to my beautiful lavender plant, my mental wheels starting turning on what I could use the lavender for to feature on the blog. I just picked up a bag of organic lemons from Trader Joe's which were appearing to ripen quicker than I could use them (kitchen tip: you can always squeeze ripe lemons into an ice cube tray and freeze to use later in recipes) so I decided to whip up a pitcher of homemade, organic lavender lemonade! Perfect for this blistering California summer day! And Pete would enjoy it upon arrival from his long day at work, considering he doesn't drink alcohol (but you could always add a lil vodka if you choose).
There are many ways to make this recipe using dried lavender leaves/flowers, lavender oil, or fresh leaves/flowers (or a combination of all three!). This recipe just deals with the basics. Lemons, fresh lavender, water, and your favorite sweetener - and that's it! (Oh, maybe some ice, too!).
This recipe is the perfect non-alcoholic drink to mix up to appease your friends at any occasion (think summer BBQ, baby shower, kids birthday party, or housewarming party!) or as I said above, you can easily make it more adult-like. Got a lemon tree? Even better. Pick some ripe lemon, cut a few leaves and stem of lavender, and head insider to concoct your masterpiece. Squeeze, steep, shake, slurp - ahhhh... summer's nectar.
By Rima Danielle Jomaa - Rima the Jungle Girl
Serves: 4 (or one really thirsty jungle girl)
- 4 cups water, divided
- 1/4 cup fresh lavender leaves/flowers
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, white sugar or equivalent of your favorite sweetener (find an online conversion chart to find the appropriate amount based on sweetener) - adjust based on preference
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
- Lemon slices and lavender petals for garnish
- A drop of beet juice to color (optional, not used in pictures above)
- Boil one cup of water, pour over the lavender leaves/flowers and allow to steep for 30 minutes or longer (how long you let it steep with affect the strength of the lavender flavor).
- In a medium saucepan, boil remaining 3 cups water. Add sugar or sweetener and boil until dissolved (this while depend on what sweetener you use). For sugar, about a minute. For agave nectar, simply add to the hot water and turn the fire off, giving it time to melt.
- Strain the lavender water through a sieve when it's ready and add to the sugar water mixture, squeezing the lavender down to make sure you get every last drop of yummy-ness!
- In a pitcher, combine freshly squeezed lemon juice with the water mixture.
- If you want more of a pronounced lavender flavor, you could always add one drop of organic, safe-to-consume lavender oil (don't overdo it - it's strong!). You could also add a drop of beet juice or beet powder to give it a natural, purple color.
- Serve over ice & enjoy!