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.
I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).
I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)
This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.
In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself.
With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix DMC-ZS15 compact camera.)
I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.
Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!