Relax with lavender and this pretty little song from England, dating back at least 300 years. Originally this ditty was not for kids. Early words made it more a bawdy or drinking song for the purposes of wooing a lady into bed.
In our time, it’s been sung in a gentler form by Dinah Shore, Sammy Kaye, and Burl Ives for Walt Disney … even more recently, David Bowie has given it a shot.
I love purple, and I’ve had the privilege of seeing fields of lavender blooming in southern France. I was pleasantly surprised to see a similar sight recently in Hamilton, Ontario. Lavender essential oil is a mainstay in my bathroom pharmacy. I’ve even used lavender flowers in some baking.
So when I saw an easy recipe for a summer drink using lavender and lemon, another one of my favorite super foods, I thought I could modify it sufficiently to give it a shot. Modifying in this case meant leaving out the sugar, which as most of my readers know is what I aim for, in my cooking.
As I had some home-grown and dried lavender at my disposal, I merrily went ahead with the concoction.
The first step involved boiling 2 cups of water, then steeping the lavender flowers with the lemon zest for 30 minutes. Mine rested for a couple of hours, but, hey, that’s summer for you!
My version was decidedly on the pinkish side rather than the blue. It has something to do with pH. My species of lavender reacted differently with the lemon than the guy’s whose recipe I used.. His drink was a true purple.
When I strained my lavender liquid into a glass cup, I had a lovely pale mauve shade (see photo at top of page). Imagine my surprise when I added this to the squeezed lemon juice. My drink turned a brilliant magenta! Kids will LOVE this.
Makes 6 cups or 12 half-cup servings
- 5 cups pure water
- zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons liquid honey (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dried, organic culinary lavender
- 6 lemons, peeled and juiced (approximately 1.5 cups)
- 40 drops of liquid stevia or to taste
- Lavender sprigs for garnish
- Pour half the water in a pan, bring to boil and remove from heat.
- Add dried lavender, lemon zest, and honey (if using). Let steep for 20 minutes.
- Strain mixture and pour into larger container.
- Add lemon juice and the remaining water. Stir well. Adjust to your taste with more water or stevia.
Yes! Lavender oil has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active ingredients. It possesses amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying, hypotensive, and sedative properties.
Most of the scientific studies have involved the oil’s aroma. The oil is used on pillow cases to promote sleep, in incense burners to lift your mood, and as aromatherapy to ease anxiety among cancer patients.
But it can be used orally to treat nervousness, depression and headache, as well as digestive concerns including flatulence, loss of appetite and nausea.
Even if it did none of these things, it is worth adding lavender to lemonade for its color alone :). Offer some lavender blue (or will it be pink?) lemonade the next time you set up a neighborhood lemonade stand. It should fetch a premium price!
And the taste?
You can definitely taste a difference between lavender lemonade and lemonade straight up. It’s a pleasant touch of floral, but not at all like soap. And you’ll get a faint, relaxing whiff of lavender while you sip away the summer day. My drink was made entirely without added sugar. Tart but delicious. This lemonade is worth trying. It may even become a family favorite. Happy summer!
PS – If you are in need of a little relaxation as we speak, I suggest listening to the Burl Ives version of Dilly Dilly right now. Click the link at the top of this post (skip the ad) and sing along to peaceful bliss :). If you don’t lapse immediately into a deep calm, let me know :).