Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Raspberry (or Strawberry) Lavender Lemonade

I have been thinking of raspberries the last couple of days. I talked to my Mom on Sunday night and she was telling me they had spent the morning picking raspberries on my sister's, in-law's property and I realized as much as I love Hawaii--I miss Oregon, the Northwest and being able to go pick and eat fresh berries right off the vines. Actually to be truly honest, I only miss about the first 10 minutes of the picking (after that it's pretty much hot, prickly and tiring) but I definitely miss all of the eating! Then last night I was thumbing through The Balanced Plate by Rene Loux, a cookbook emphasizing whole foods, health and harmony and saw a recipe for Raspberry Lavender Lemonade which sounded delicious. I had a tin of culinary lavender from Maui, a bunch of lemons I needed to use and a couple of bags of frozen wild raspberries in my freezer--not fresh exactly but close! I marked the recipe and drifted off to sleep, dreaming of sitting on my lanai and sipping a tall, cool glass of this lemonade. In the morning, when I went to pull the berries out of the fridge to defrost, there were blueberries, a small bag of blackberries and lots of strawberries but guess what...NO RASPBERRIES! After some internal debating, I decided that Strawberry Lavender Lemonade sounded almost as good and decided to make it that way.

Raspberry Lavender Lemonade
The Balanced Palate by Renee Loux
Yields 4 servings (a bit more than a quart)

2 Tbsp dried lavender flowers
2 cups boiled, filtered water
2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
2-3 Tbsp agave nectar or raw honey
1/2 tsp non-alcoholic vanilla extract
1 pint raspberries (2 cups)--fresh or frozen organic
2 cups filtered water
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Pinch of Sea Salt
Springs of fresh mint for garnish

Steep the lavender flowers in the hot water for 3-5 minutes. Do not steep longer or it will turn bitter. Strain. Mix in the maple syrup and agave or honey, and vanilla. Set in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes or in the fridge for 20 minutes or until cool to the touch.
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Meanwhile, in a blender, blend the raspberries, filtered water, lemon juice and salt until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer or sieve. Press down on the pulp with the back of a large spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
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Mix the cooled, sweetened tea and the raspberry-lemon mixture together. Add a bit more maple syrup, agave or honey if desired. Serve in tall glasses or wine glasses over ice with springs of fresh mint.
The strawberry-lavender-lemon combo was elegant and refreshing--although I still want to try it with raspberries. Using strawberries did mean less effort to strain the mixture which was nice. I went with the smallest amounts of maple syrup and honey and did 2 Tbsp of each and I really didn't think it needed any additional sweetener once it was mixed. Perfect on a warm summer night!

4 comments:

K & S said...

sounds so refreshing. I didn't know that there is non-alcohol vanilla extract!

Debinhawaii said...

I guess there are! I just did it with the Hawaiian Vanilla Company extract I had and didn't even pay attention to the non-alcohol part--probably more of the cookbook author's personal choice than anything else. (I bet it would be good with your homeade extract!)

K & S said...

I will have to look for frozen berries as I don't think strawberries or raspberries are in season here, you should look for frozen raspberries too :)

Debinhawaii said...

I am planning on getting some frozen raspberries if I can find some. The frozen berries worked just fine--especially when you can't get fresh. I am thinking blueberry-lavender could be interesting too...