After the birth of our grandson, my mother-in-law came for a visit. We usually like to do a road trip while she’s here and discovered a fun and quaint place to go for a day trip; Lavender Ridge Farms in Gainesville. We are into essential oils and lavender is considered the -when in doubt, use lavender – oil. It has many uses including: takes the itch out of bug bites, calms and balances the system, reduces feeling of anxiety and tension, and promotes peaceful sleep. We were excited to be surrounded by nature and hopped in the car!
It was a beautiful day as we enjoyed meandering around their farm and taking in the menagerie of animals including the lemurs, which had just given birth five days ago – such a treat to see! We discovered hundreds of different types of irises in bloom and walked among the newly planted lavender. Even though their lavender fields were being recultivated, they still had plenty of lavender goods to check out in and among their gift shop. We bought a couple of lavender plants, handmade soap, culinary lavender, and had lunch at their Lavender Café. While dining on all things lavender imbued, I especially fell in love with their lavender lemonade. It was so refreshing and delicious; I just couldn’t get enough!
I’ve come up with my own interpretation of lavender lemonade that combines a classic lemonade recipe with steeped culinary lavender. I used to make regular lemonade all the time when we lived in San Diego several years ago and had a prolific lemon tree. The addition of lavender takes this reviving drink to a whole new level. Folks, DO try this at home; you will not be disappointed!
2 quarts water
1 C sugar
1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-6 lemons, depending on size)
1 TBS culinary (edible) lavender flowers*
*Sprouts stores carry edible lavender flowers in the tea section. I’m sure other health food-type stores carry it was well. Call around and find some pronto! (You’ll also want to have some to sprinkle onto grilled chicken or fish – and it’s especially delicious in desserts!)
Heat 2 cups of water in a covered saucepan on high. Once boiling, remove pan from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of culinary lavender. Cover and let steep and cool for 30 min.
Meanwhile, squeeze lemons using a juicer (handheld or electric) or by hand, using the back of a spoon to press the last bits of juice out over a strainer to catch seeds. **To get the most juice out of a lemon: keep at room temperature or microwave for 30 seconds to warm, then roll lemon on countertop gently pressing into it before slicing and squeezing.
Place sugar and lemon juice in a 2-quart pitcher. Strain lavender flowers from the steeped “lavender tea” and pour liquid into the pitcher and stir. Add more water until pitcher is full – 2 quarts. Stir again. Refrigerate. Serve with lemon slices if you desire.
Enjoy lemonade on your front porch like they did in the old days. Maybe invite any passersby to join you in a refreshing beverage. They’ll be glad you did!