We moved into our house, a 1930s brick tudor in Seattle, pretty much in the dead of winter. The beautiful backyard that had ‘sold’ us on our house wasn’t exactly in bloom. But in early spring, we began spending more and more time out there, constantly discovering new-to-us plants.
Coming from a two bedroom apartment in San Francisco with no yard to speak of, we would have been happy just to have a patch of grass, but we lucked out and got much more so we’re hoping to grow plenty of edibles for years to come. One of my favorite backyard discoveries was a giant lavender bush which not only looks beautiful but smells heavenly. I find that a lot of people associate the scent of lavender with spas and soap, but it’s actually a fabulous addition to baked goods and beverages, too.
Last summer, we shared a Rosemary Vanilla Bean Lemonade recipe on our site that was a big hit and I’d been waiting all winter long to adapt it. Lo and behold my lavender bush helped me find a new and creative direction. This lemonade is quick to make but be warned: it disappears fast. Adjust the amount of water you use if you want yours to be more or less concentrated. If you’re skilled in cocktail-making, be sure to make some extra lavender syrup — it pairs well with vodka. Just sayin’.
For the lavender syrup:
1 tablespoon of dried lavender flowers (the edible kind!)
¾ cup of sugar
2 cups of water
2-3 fresh lavender sprigs plus more, for garnish
For the lemonade:
1 cup of lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
4 cups of cold water (more, to taste)
1. Combine the dried lavender, sugar, water, and fresh lavender stems in a small pot and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool.
2. Strain the lavender syrup into a pitcher. Discard dried lavender and lavender stems. Stir in the lemon juice and water. Taste and add more water, if you like. Chill the lemonade in the refrigerator and serve over ice, garnished with a sprig of fresh lavender, in you like.