This is the first time I have lavender in the garden. I didn't grow it from seed, but brought a few plants home from the nursery as a "butterfly-friendly" addition to my garden. They were so fragrant, I honestly couldn't resist.
Lavender, which is part of the mint family, has found its way into everything from bug repellent to bath soaps. Thankfully, it's also found its way into the kitchen. I didn't have a lot of lavender to work with from my garden so I purchased some dried culinary lavender. What's the difference between "culinary" and "regular" lavender? The main difference is in the amount of essential oils in the plant. Culinary lavender has less oil, while others, used more for their fragrance, have more. Some varieties are just more bitter than others, even if they smell delightful. English lavender is a popular choice for culinary purposes.
It's currently our July 4th holiday in the U.S. and it's a beautiful summer weekend. I thought I'd put some of that lavender to use in a refreshing summertime drink - lemonade. I like this drink because it has a nice subtle hint of lavender, and strays from the typical glass of lemonade we've been drinking all our lives. Adjust the amounts of lemon juice and water to adjust how sweet or tart you like it.
Yields 8 servings
2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender (or approximately 1/4 cup fresh buds, removed from stems)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 cups cold water
- Boil two cups of water in a small saucepan. Remove from heat.
- Put lavender in a bowl and add the sugar. Loosely mix it together.
- Add the lavender sugar mixture to the hot water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cover and let sit for about 30 minutes.
- Strain the liquid from the lavender into a large pitcher. Discard lavender.
- Add the lemon juice and cold water and stir.
- Add ice and lemon slices to the pitcher.
- Pour each serving in a glass over ice and garnish with lemon slice (and fresh lavender if you have it.