When Life hands you lemons & lavender!
Go ahead and finish the cliche...make lemonade! That's right, nothing original, but we don't always have to be original. And most likely, hardly anything is truly original anyway, but doesn't mean it's not good. My friend Lindsey mentioned that I needed to get on the bandwagon and create a Lavender Lemonade. Not only that, but have a Spring kickoff of food you should be making in the kitchen this time of year.
I have been reading a book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which has inspired me even more to be a seasonal eater & cook. It's about her family's year long adventure of eating only food grown locally (which would also be in season). Now, I don't think I would ever be able to do that, but she makes some good points with the main two being how much fossil fuel is used to transport food that you wouldn't be able to find locally. The other point is how much better the food actually tastes (along with health benefits) when you get it farm direct. I would wholeheartedly agree as Ben and I were talking about the vegetables he actually likes.
His thing is he will eat vegetables because he knows they're essential, but he doesn't necessarily like many of them. However, when I prodded a bit more, we came to find out that a majority of veggies he dislikes are actually eaten out of season. Now, all that to say and lemons are definitely not a seasonal, nor local thing here in Bellingham (hence why I couldn't abide by a 100% locally grown philosophy--plus what about coffee?). Lavender does grow abundantly in the Pacific Northwest. However, it's more of a summer thing. Okay so none of the ingredients, except water, is in season or local at this point in time. But...I had lavender in my cupboard from a local Lavender farm, so I feel justified.
I liked this lemonade quite a bit. It had a subtle lavender aroma & taste. I used unrefined sugar, which in making a simple syrup you never get that clear syrup. So other than visual appeal, the unrefined did just fine and the lavender lemonade hit the spot on a lovely Spring afternoon.
Lavender Lemonade (printable recipe)
If you want a clear simple syrup, then use white granulated sugar. The simple syrup makes more than what the recipe calls for, but just put it in your fridge to make more later. It will keep in your fridge for 2 weeks.
1 cup unrefined granulated sugar
1 cup culinary lavender
1 cup water
12 Tb lavender simple syrup
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemons
2 1/2 cups cold water
In a mortar, gently crush about 1/3 cup of lavender. In a small pan over medium heat, combine sugar, lavender & water. Stirring to combine and until the sugar crystals disappear. Don't stir and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
With a sieve over a measuring cup, pour lavender simple syrup through to separate the syrup from the lavender. Set aside. Squeeze your lemons (I had 3) to make 3/4 cup and pour into a pitcher. Add 10 Tb of lavender simple syrup, along with 2 cups of cold water. Taste to see if you need more water or syrup. I used 1/2 cup more & 2 more Tb of the syrup.
Serve by putting some ice in the pitcher & sprinkle with lavender. Sit outside and breathe in Spring.