We started growing culinary lavender in our garden two summers ago, then last summer had to move the plants to pots to make room for more vegetables. One of my lavenders didn’t fare well, but the other two were doing splendidly until the uber snow storms of 2010. They look rather spindly now, a mere shell of their glory last spring when the bees played among the purple flowers. So I’m starting over with a few new plants in the garden and hopefully a better location for them, and maybe we will once again harvest some beautiful lavender flowers next summer. At least I had a few buds leftover from last summer.
If you want to grow your own lavender for culinary uses, choose a Lavandula angustifolia rather than lavendin, the flavor is better suited for cooking. We grow Munstead and Hidcote, both of which are very common English varieties, as well as a variety called Buena Vista, which is winter hardy for our area. To harvest the flowers, simply cut the flower stems and make a bundle, then wrap a rubber band around the bottom. Hang upside down in a dark dry place for about a week or so, then gently remove the flowers from the stems. Store in a food safe tin or plastic container in the cupboard away from light.
Michael once considered lavender an acquired taste, but with this lemonade I think he is sold. The lavender is a flavor that mixes well with the strawberries and lemons, making me think of warm summer days in the flower garden. If lavender is a new flavor for you or if you prefer a hint of lavender, use just ½ tablespoon of the buds, or if you like a stronger lavender flavor go for the full tablespoon. It takes only a few minutes to prepare the strawberry lavender syrup, and it’s so worth it, plus it will make a delicious addition to any Memorial Day cookout.
Bubbly lemonade: In step 2 omit the water. Just before serving, add 2-½ cups cold seltzer water.
Spiked lemonade: In step 2 add 1 cup of water and 1-½ cups of vodka.
I hope you will join us for Grow Your Own this year. Simply write about a dish you created with your homegrown, foraged, raised, or hunted foods (anything is welcome, whether plant or animal), and then send your post information to me. May 31 is the deadline for this month, and I will post a roundup of all the dishes a few days after.
Strawberry Lavender Lemonade
- medium saucepan with a lid
- wire mesh strainer
- 2-quart glass pitcher
- 10 fresh strawberries (hulled and sliced + more for garnish)
- ½ to 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
- 4½ cups water
- 1½ to 1¾ cups granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness of the strawberries)
- 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In the medium saucepan, add the 10 sliced strawberries, lavender buds, 2 cups of water, and the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cool to room temperature.
- Place the wire mesh strainer over the top of the glass pitcher and pour the strawberry mixture through it. Set aside the leftover strawberries and lavender, they are good over ice cream. Stir in the remaining 2-½ cups water and the lemon juice. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until very cold, at least 2 hours. Serve over ice with strawberry slices for garnish.
Sources for Dried Lavender
- Blue Moon Lavender
- LocalHarvest.org – lavender
Sharlene Thomas says
Mmmmm. I love lemonade. Never thought of adding Lavender. Gonna have to try this. Thanks for the recipe...
shannon abdollmohammadi says
I have had strawberry lavender lemonade sorbet once and I bet this is just as beautiful and delicious!!!
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
I love love love lavender lemonade. I also love lavender-lemon tea cakes. The lemon is the perfect balance, isn't it?
oh my, this is such a great idea! i will have to try it... have lots of lavender in the garden, so i'll be making this for our next bbq!
Lori @ RecipeGirl says
We have so much lavender growing in our backyard that you'd think I would be harvesting the stuff and packaging it up for use. Nope. I buy it 🙂 I haven't tried it in lemonade... sounds like it would add some interesting flavor. Looks pretty too!
Alisa - Frugal Foodie says
Hmm, yes, I love the scent of lavender but it is bit fragrant to the taste for me ... but in something like this lemonade it look like a definite maybe for my taste buds 🙂
We're still getting the snow out west, in fact it is snowing AGAIN today. Who said California and Nevada are warm?
I will be honest here. I'm not a huge fan of strawberry lemonade. I like mine simple.
But that picture? that picture is going to haunt me. Considering I have 17 lbs of strawberries in my freezer 😀
Great recipe! I have lavender growing as well and a few years ago I made a chocolate lavender cake which was delicious. But you have just giving me the best idea around beverages. I am totally going to check out this recipe.
my little expat kitchen says
I have bought a bunch of dried lavender bulbs and didn't know what to do with them. You've given me a great summery idea. Thanks!
YUM! This looks so tasty and refreshing 🙂
Cookin' Canuck says
My husband just came home with a lavender plant yesterday and I've been thinking of ways to use the fragrant flower. This refreshing lemonade sounds like a wonderful option!
Pam Ronald says
I will definitely try this summer drink. We have lots of lavender in our garden and strawberries too. I posted a recipe for Grow your own
Please let me know if you need any more information to include it on the June list
I found your blog while looking for uses for my homegrown lavender. I made this lemonade and I am hooked! It was very strong for me but easy to dilute with ice and water. I very much enjoyed it. Thank you!