A friend gave me the cookbook Cooking With Flowers for my birthday and I've been swooning over the recipes ever since. With recipes like Flowerfetti Cake, Blackberry Borage Fool, and Hibiscus Popsicles the only delimma was what to make first!
With summer heat here to stay, the lavender is finally blooming in my garden. Lavender lemonade was the obvious recipe to start with. Get out some pretty bottles and be ready to share - this lemonade is party worthy!
1 cup lavender simple syrup (recipe follows)
1 cup lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
4 cups water
Mix ingredients in a large pitcher and pour into bottles if desired. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Lavender Simple Syrup (makes 2 cups)
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbsp fresh lavender flowers/buds*
Put sugar and water in a small saucepan. Dissolve sugar in water over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer. Place flowers in a non-reactive bowl (glass or stainless steel) and pour hot sugar water over them. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve and discard the flowers.
*If using dried lavender buds, cut amount used to 2 tsp, or 1/3 amount of fresh blooms.
Floral simple syrups can be stored in a covered glass jar in the fridge for 1-2 months. If it begins to crystalilize, simply heat it again until smooth.
Note: I used Provence lavender for my lemonade, a beautifully strong-scented variety. I made the first batch of simple syrup following the recipe, with flowers steeped 30 minutes. The syrup gave just a hint of lavender scent to the lemonade but it wasn't enough for me. In my second batch of syrup I let the blooms steep for 1 hour. To me it was the ideal lemonade flavoring: a stronger lavender scent and a small tangy bite on the tastebuds. Adjust the steeping time to your liking :)