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TIP OF THE DAY: Make Gourmet Lemonade

We recently purchased a bargain-size package of culinary lavender on Amazon.com. Our intent was to make lavender tea,* which we consume by the potfull.

When a very large pouch of lavender arrived, we had to figure out what to do with all of it. We didn’t want to go the high-calorie dessert route—lavender pound cake, crème brûlée, panna cotta and so forth.

So lavender iced tea was a no brainer. Then we turned to lavender lemonade, a lovely gourmet twist.

When we made a four-cup version of this recipe, all the lemonade was gone in a minute. So this larger recipe makes a bit more than a gallon, or 16 eight-ounce servings—two 64-ounce pitchers.

*Lavender tea recipe: Steep lavender to taste with the tea leaves; start by making just one cup of tea with 1/4 teaspoon per 6 ounces of water, and adjust to strength to taste with a subsequent cup).

LAVENDER LEMONADE RECIPE

Ingredients

 

Make lavender-infused lemonade for a gourmet twist. Photo © Edith Frincu | Dreamstime.

 

  • 3 cups sugar (or make the recipe sugarless and sweeten to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon culinary lavender (culinary lavender is pesticide-free)
  • 2-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 15 lemons)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BOIL. Boil one gallon of water plus the sugar in a large saucepan.

    2. INFUSE. Add lavender and simmer for 15 minutes. If you don’t want to strain it out, place the lavender in a mesh spice ball/tea infuser.

    3. ADD. Cool to room temperature. Add lemon juice, strain out lavender and chill.

     

    A bunch of dried lavender. Photo by Ewa
    Dacko | SXC.

     

    VARIATIONS

  • Substitute 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 5 limes) for 1/2 cup lemon juice. Replace 3 lemons with 5 limes.
  • Substitute fresh basil, lemon thyme or mint for the lavender.
  • Use honey instead of sugar.
  • Turn some of the tea into ice cubes so you don’t dilute the flavor with ice.
  • For a party, use whole sprigs of culinary lavender for garnish.
  •  
    LAVENDER SIMPLE SYRUP

    You can make lavender simple syrup in advance; then, just spoon it into unsweetened lemonade or iced tea. You get both sweetener and lavender flavor at once!

     

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender buds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar fully dissolves.

    2. Add the lavender buds and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain out lavender and let the syrup cool. Keep in a tightly-capped jar (no refrigeration needed) and use it to sweeten plain iced tea, hot tea, unsweetened lemonade and cocktails.

    3. Consider making extra bottles to give as gifts.

     
    MAKE LAVENDER WATER, TOO

    You can also flavor water with lavender. Simmer the lavender in water for 15 minutes, cool and refrigerate.

    MORE LEMONADE TIPS

  • For a zero-calorie drink, use non-caloric sweetener.
  • For a low-glycemic drink, use agave nectar.
  • You can also use this recipe to make fresh limeade.
  • Varying the garnishes makes the recipe “new” each time.
  • A shot of vodka or gin turns lemonade into a splendid cocktail.
  •   





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