Summertime Teas and Lemonades
Hot summer days, sweaty farm chores, or an afternoon of running errands always has me wanting a thirst quenching cool drink. Instead of grabbing a sugary soda I reach for an icy refreshing pitcher of fruit infused tea or lemonade. The kick of energy I get from the tangy fruity concoction hits the spot every time.
Lemon trees, whether they be Myer, Eureka, Lisbon or the less common variegated Pink are on practically every street in Southern California. There is hardly a yard without its own tree, and lemon inspired drinks are always on the summer menu. The versatility of lemonade makes it a fun drink to experiment with too. We are fond of incorporating ingredients from our own farm. Herbs and flowers are especially good at toning down the tartness of lemons and make for a great festive alternative to plain lemonade.
SO — I thought I’d share a few of our favorites with you.
Blueberry-Lemon Iced Tea
1 cup fresh or 16 oz. package frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups water
3 family-size tea bags
3/4 cup sugar
- Bring blueberries and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using back of a spoon to squeeze out juice. Discard solids. Wipe saucepan clean.
- Bring 4 cups water to a boil in same saucepan; add 3 family-size tea bags, and let stand 5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar and blueberry juice mixture. Pour into a pitcher; cover and chill 1 hour. Serve over ice.
- In a small saucepan, bring water, sugar, and lavender to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Allow to cool. Strain the lavender liquid into a pitcher.
- Add in lemon juice with ice, and about 4 cups of water. Taste for strength.
Rose Water Lemonade
The antique and old roses in my yard smell so good right now I just want to eat them. Fortunately, I can since I grow everything organically. So, inspired by the lavender lemonade recipe we love so much I decided to experiment with the fragrant rose petals.
In a colander I collected about a cup of the freshest looking blooms, after the dew had dried from the petals. I chose a mixture of pink and magenta flowers, thinking the combination would produce a deeper color and flavor. As I gently pulled the petals off, I discarded any that had brown on the edges.
I placed the petals in a glass bowl and covered them with 2 cups of boiling water and allowed the petals to steep for 30 minutes.
While the rose petals were steeping, I made simple syrup of 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, gently boiled until the sugar dissolved completely, then I set it in the refrigerator to cool.
When the rose petals were finished steeping, I strained them through a cheesecloth lined colander, capturing the liquid in a measuring cup and placed it in the refrigerator to cool for an hour.
While the rose water and syrup was cooling, I squeezed the juice from 3 lemons and strained it to eliminate any pulp. I then poured it into the cooled rose water. When the syrup was cooled I stirred it into the rose water and lemon mixture. Voila! Rose water lemonade – the perfect summer drink.