- Created on Sunday, 11 April 2010 01:00
Having a booth at the Blooming Arts Festival in Linden (space graciously provided by the Commodore Hotel) and a speaking engagement at the Perry County High School for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and the Future Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) gave me opportunities to share what will be my signature chilled beverage in my Tea Room (opening in Spring 2011). Many people who tried the Lavender Lemonade wanted to have the recipe. As promised, here it is:
Yields a little over one quart
4 cups of water
4 fresh organic lemons, squeezed and seeds strained out (but leave in some of the pulp)
1 tbsp dried lavender buds
1/8 cup raw blue agave nectar
Pour one cup of boiling water over lavender buds.
Cover and steep for 10 minutes.
Combine remaining 3 cups of water with lemon juice.
Mix with steeped lavender water.
Add agave nectar and stir.
Chill before serving.
Some people said they thought the drink was not sweet enough. I believe this is mainly because they are used to (or should I say, are addicted to) the sharper sweet taste of table sugar. Agave nectar has a smooth sweet taste which allows the flavor of lavender and lemon to dominate. However, the size and juiciness of the lemons can make a difference in the tartness of the drink, as well as the fact that being organic makes them taste more "lemony". So the amount of agave nectar may need to be adjusted to taste.
You may be wondering why I chose this particular drink as my signature beverage for my Tea Room. Besides the fact that the fragrance of lavender is one of my favorite, lavender is an herb with many wonderful attributes. Lavender essential oil can be inhaled, added to bath water or applied to the skin to provide support for migraines, dizziness, and digestive disorders. Trials in 1980 showed that lavender is effective as a antibacterial and antimicrobial against dental decay. Research in 1976 showed that it purifies and deodorize the air, killing many microbes within 3 hours after exposure to the oil. As an antiseptic and disinfectant and with the ability to heal wounds, lavender essential oil is part of my first aid kit. Applying undiluted lavender oil to a burn and then following with cold water to remove the sting will assist in healing.
With the sedative action of lavender, a mild infusion (tea) of the lavender buds promotes natural sleep. Adding its antispasmodic action, drinking the tea supports insomnia, poor digestion, migraines, and irritability. And with its floral fragrance and gentle taste, I think you can understand why many an evening I am sipping a cup of lavender tea.
But now for the lemon in lavender lemonade... Of course lemon is full of vitamin C, but did you know that there are compounds in lemons called limonoids that have been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon? Scientists from the US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are now investigating the potential cholesterol-lowering effects of limonin. Another study indicates that lemons may provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints. Lemon is also an antiseptic that can be used on insect bites and stings. It can even be used straight on warts. You probably already knew that it is great for cleaning.
So now I think you can understand why Lavender Lemonade will be the signature chilled beverage for my Tea Room. However, for you unfortunate individuals who are allergic to lavender (such as my eldest daughter), there will always be another choice for a chilled drink in my Tea Room. And of course there will be many choices for hot teas.
My Herb Shop and Tea Room is under construction with plans to open Spring 2011. So in the meantime, try out the recipe. It is quite refreshing on a hot summer's day.
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