June 09, 2010

When Life Gives You Lavender...

French Lavender Lemonade.


Love thy neighbor--and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier. ~Mae West

We live in an older neighborhood with mature trees clustered about, and homes dating back to the 1890's. My house is on the main drag through our neighborhood with a picturesque little church across the road. It is a fairly busy street in our bustling pedestrian community. We get all the action right outside our windows. Runners, dog-walkers, strollers, bikers, the 4th of July parade, the Halloween extravaganza, the dog blessing ceremony (Asheville is a unique community)...it all happens directly in front of my house.


Therefore, I find my next-door-neighbor's children quite brilliant to make a tradition of selling lemonade on the street-corner throughout the summer. Karen (the mom) told me her boys have made as much as $80 selling their lemonade on a Saturday. I couldn't believe it at first. Such a huge profit for two little boys--from lemonade!?! Then, I tasted their brew and the answer was clear. Superior Lemonade. This is no powdered lemon-drink they are selling! The boys use freshly squeezed organic lemon juice and...LAVENDER! No wonder they can charge a $1 a cup of this blessed beverage! The neighbors come running with cash in hand, when they hear the boys call out, "Ice Cold Lemonade!" Karen claims the boys make the lemonade on their own, but I find that highly suspect. Sensational lemonade coming out of the kitchen of a woman who swears she doesn't cook? Very suspicious indeed...she's GOT to be hiding something behind the giant Hemlock hedge that separates our houses. Maybe, I'll never know her secrets, but she did share the lemonade recipe with me! That makes her a pretty great neighbor!

It came out of an old Hallmark cookbook simply titled "HERBS". After flipping through the pages, I noticed there were many classic recipes that showed promise, but the crown-of-glory was the beverage section. Herbed mimosas, teas, and cocktails, and this wondrous french lavender lemonade! The lavender leaves are steeped in a simple syrup to extract the essence. Because the leaves are removed before the lemon juice and water are added, the flavor comes off as very mysterious and highly complex. When you first start to sip it you wonder, "What is in this? Is it mint? No, no, not mint...more floral." You sip a little more, "Could be rosemary. No, not nearly as piny." A few more sips, "Dear God, It's lavender!" What angelic genius discovered that lavender elevates lemonade to new heights? I don't know, but I could kiss that person on the lips!

I'm giving you the recipe as a double batch, because I guarantee one small pitcher's worth will not be enough. Once you taste this lemonade, you'll understand!

Sommer


French Lavender Lemonade

10 cups water, divided
3 cups sugar
½ cup lavender leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 9-11 lemons
Ice
Fresh lavender sprigs for garnishing

I cut the lavender right out of my flower bed Then pulled the leaves off the stems, in the same way you would pull the leaves downward off a sprig of rosemary, saving the flowers for the garnish.

In a medium sauce pan, combine 5 cups of water, with the sugar and lavender leaves. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir and cover. Then remove from heat and allow the lavender to steep until the mixture returns to room temperature.


Squeeze the lemons, and removing any runaway seeds. When the “lavender infusion” has cooled, strain out the lavender leaves. Pour the infusion, lemon juice, and another 5 cups of water into a large pitcher.



Add ice and garnish with delicate lavender sprigs!


French Lavender Lemonade on Foodista

41 comments:

  1. Sommer, you are a kindred spirit! Fantastic post, love the descriptions. Making me miss my old house a bit though.

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  2. Hi Sommer, I really enjoyed reading this post.The lemonade will be a big hit here in our house as my husband and son loves to drink ice tea during this time. Maybe I'll surprise them with this recipe of yours. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I adore anything flavored with lavender! Do you get better flavor with the leaves than you do with the flower petals? I have some dried lavender flowers that I would like to use. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Casey~

    Lavender leaves are stronger than the buds. I use lavender buds when I want the flavor and decorative aspect as well, but the leaves when its just for flavor.

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  5. Awwwww, that looks so pretty, very summerly, I love lavender smell. And the description of your street makes me very jealous, I would love to live in a house with a backyard to plant all sorts of herbs. And have suspicious neighbors making delicious lemonades. LOL

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  6. Great to know about the lavender leaves, this looks like a perfect twist on a classic. I am adding it to my favorites, so then I can make it this summer! Seems like the kind of recipe that people taste and just love, but would never guess the secret ingredient. ;)

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  7. Waw!! I never have used lavender leaves before just the flowers!!

    Thanks for sharing this tasty & luscious looking lavender lemonade!
    Your pictures are so appetizing & vibrant!

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  8. I have both of this in my backyard! I can make it so easily

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  9. wow...its like being back in the south of France!
    what a wonderful refreshing beverage. It sounds like you live in a great neighborhood!

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  10. Going to be a hot one this weekend ... sounds like just the ticket!

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  11. That is brilliant...and lovely. I MUST make this...thanks!

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  12. Oh my, Oh my, what a great idea. thanks

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  13. Lovely pictures, I wish I knew where to get lavender - this looks so refreshing and cool.

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  14. Hi Sommer, Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I can't believe the boys made $80 selling lemonade. That's so terrific!

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  15. Hey Sommer - reading your posts is always such a pleasure! You don't just write, you paint exquisite potraits with words....

    This lemonade sounds like liquid manna from heaven, in this stifling heat and the pictures alone make me feel refreshed! Wonderful, wonderful post!!

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  16. Gorgeous, Sommer! You know how much I love lavender - I've been toying with the idea of making a lavender lemonade - now I must!

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  17. Jennifurla~

    You can buy cut and potted lavender at a good farmer's market. I got mine at a garden center a few years back.

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  18. A lavender lemonade sounds absolutely delightful!

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  19. I did not realize you could use the leaves....very cool! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Love lavendar and I know I'll love this refreshing drink :)

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  20. If the promised sun and warm weather finally arrive this weekend in the NW, I will celebrate with a pitcher of lavender lemonade!

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  21. Wonderful and refreshing. So great you added lavender!

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  22. I'm very curious about the dog blessing ceremony! Any hoo... lavender lemonade sounds divine! Bookmarked your recipe!

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  23. what a wonderfully refreshing looking drink!

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  24. Thanks to you I have another lemonade to try this summer! I love the addition of lavender and we get a huge crop of lavender in our mountain home!

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  25. What a lovely photo. I can imagine how refreshing this must be on a lazy and hot afternoon. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  26. Lavender lemonade, oh how glorious..my mouth is watering I love lemonade but with lavender over the top my friend...I can see why they make great profits with this spectacular drink. I will be more than happy sipping this all summer, too funny you post about lavender, we are going the Blanco, Texas lavender festival this weekend..can't wait..

    sweetlife
    ps, thanks for your lovely comment on chuls at denise's page, oh how it made me smile..

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  27. This post makes me so happy. The idea of lavender in lemonade, the photos, the Mexican glass pitcher that reminds me of many shopping trips across the border and also that great quote by Mae West - thanks for the smiles!

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  28. I am so making this and then I'm setting upa lemonade stand. I would love to use this recipe for the Examiner and credit you (with a link to your blog). Let me know if that would be all right with you - either way this is being made!

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  29. What a gorgeous snapshot of this drink and I have never heard of it before your blog...sounds wonderful! Got to try this :)

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  30. In one swift movement I turn my head to look out my window at my lavander. It still there!
    No flowers but your recipe only calls for the leaves so tomarrow...Lavender lemonade!!
    Thank you so much for the inspiration! And please thank your neighbor too!

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  31. Great lemonade recipe there, thank you for sharing it with us!

    Bon appetit!
    CCR
    =:~)

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  32. OH my goodness, if only you knew how I love lavender in food (not in scent)! I could add it everyhwhere. That lemonade seems to be divine!

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  33. Ohhh so nice... I love lavender, I have a lot in the garden, I have a lemon tree too and with this heat -I do not like the summer - at least I can enjoy this refreshing drink...!!

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  34. This is so beautiful and so summery! I cant wait for the sun to come out here in london so i can enjoy this to the max!

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  35. I love lavender. I use it quite a bit in my cuisine. Beautiful photos.

    Cheers!

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  36. Oh my gosh! Great minds do think alike :-) I looove your photos. Simply gorgeous!

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  37. I wish I could grow lavender here :( The idea of a lavender scented lemonade is brilliant.

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  38. It is like a grown up lemonade! That would be perfect for a tea party.

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  39. This sounds amazing. I love lavender and am always looking out for new ways to use it in recipes. Such an unusual idea: thanks for sharing it.
    hopeeternal
    'Meanderings through my Cookbook'
    www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

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  40. I love beverages like this for the summer...something a little more interesting than plain lemonade or iced tea.

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  41. You made me smile when you wrote about Asheville. Seems that I always choose the right day to check your newest updates (granted I'm behind today). Good lemonade is hard to find so only for that I love this post and using the quintessential French touch -lavender !! Going to try this this weekend.

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