Lavender for bee-pleasers and scented sugars

A friend recently promised to plant ‘bee-pleasers like lavender and cotoneaster’ to give her garden a pleasant summer hum. This made me think of summer afternoons spent in the garden enjoying the drifts of scent and the sounds of nature, while drinking a tall glass of lemonade. The past few weeks with my family and work have been really busy and there hasn’t been time to enjoy simple pleasures or even blog! So I gave myself Sunday afternoon to slow down and try a recipe for homemade pink lavender lemonade and lavender-scented sugar.

Lavender is one of my favourite herbs and essential oils. It is so valuable for humans and for bees. Ted Hooper describes lavender as flowers for food in his Guide to Bees and Honey: ‘Grown for its well known scent in most gardens, these plants provide excellent forage for the bee. There are considerable acreages grown in Europe and migration of bee colonies to lavender fields is an annual event. The honey is medium to dark amber in colour and strongly flavoured.’

Pink lavender lemonade

This recipe for lavender lemonade couldn’t be simpler to make and more delicious to drink.

Lavender has a very distinctive flavour in recipes so adjust to suit your taste. I have added rose petals for fragrance and hibiscus for its rich pink colour.

You will need:

  • 4 cups of boiling water
  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups of dried lavender flowers
  • 1/4 cup of dried rose petals and hibiscus flowers
  1. Pour the boiling water over the lavender, rose petals and hibiscus flowers, then cover and leave for 10 minutes. The rose and hibiscus make the lemonade pink.
  2. Squeeze the lemons into a bowl while waiting for the flowers to infuse the water with scent and flavour.
  3. Sieve the flower water into a saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice, stir thoroughly until all the sugar had dissolved. Then add the cold water and stir.
  4. Pour into a jug ready to serve and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer to cool.

Here is a step by step in pictures…

Pour the boiling water over the lavender, rose petals and hibiscus flowers, then cover and leave for 10 minutes.

Cut and squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl.

Sieve the flower water into a saucepan.

Add the sugar and lemon juice, stir thoroughly until all the sugar has dissolved.

Then add cold water and stir.

Pour into a jug ready to serve. Just add strawberries.

Lavender sugar

Lavender sugar makes everything taste beautiful and it is so easy to make. Simply mix together 2 cups of castor sugar and 1 cup of dried lavender flowers. Store inside an airtight jar ready to use. In time, the sugar soaks up the scent and taste of lavender, and is lovely to use in baking recipes or sprinkled over fruit and desserts.

We enjoyed the lavender lemonade and sugar with strawberries. It felt a little like a celebration given the recent good news about mine and Emily’s bees. There has been some troubles in bee-land lately, although all’s well that ends well which I’ll save for my next post.

Lavender sugar takes seconds to make and can be saved for more lovely recipes.

I am looking forward to using the lavender sugar to bake scented cupcakes and biscuits!

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28 thoughts on “Lavender for bee-pleasers and scented sugars

    • Aw, thank you Emily! I think you should do the same – maybe we should do a joint book about beekeeping, cooking with a bit of aromatherapy? 😉

      I get my lavender flowers from Neal’s Yard Remedies, although the best is to grow your own as they are so easy to harvest and prepare.

  1. Those step-by-step photos are great 🙂 The last one on the tray looked so good it made me want to race out to the kitchen and make it right away!

    • I couldn’t find that recipe but I think I made a simple calendula balm by melting beeswax in sweet almond oil with a handful of dried marigold flowers. When the beeswax had melted I strained off the oil mixture so the flowers are not in the balm, then you stir very fast as the oil-wax mixture cools and sets fast! The more beeswax added the harder and thicker it is, and trickier to transfer to a jar! So you can do the same but substitute marigolds for lavender. You might like to buy this book as it has the most gorgeous natural beauty recipes: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Ultimate-Natural-Beauty-Book/dp/1856265137

      • Sounds great, thanks!
        By the way, we’ll have loads of lavender soon – remind me!
        Laveneder sugar in shortbread & sponges is lovely….!

    • That’s a lovely idea. I might reduce the quantities of lavender, and perhaps rose and hibiscus, for a baby shower as it is thought to be an emmenagogue (labour-inducing) although the evidence is anecdotal! For mum-to-be perhaps the herbs can be substituted for hulled and sliced strawberries (I think they have to be boiled up with the water and lemon juice and then strained off).

      • I’m glad you told me that! I can just imagine making it for a baby shower and sending the mum-to-be into labor!

        Lavender is so wonderful. I burned my left hand really badly with a hot soup accident, and I thought I would be scarred for life. A friend told me to put lavender oil on it, and it healed quickly and without any scarring whatsoever!!

        I also smelled really good! 🙂

      • Lavender is an amazing skin healer, I’m glad that your hand was alright! It is thought to be the essential oil responsible for the revival of aromatherapy in modern days, because Rene-Maurice Gattefosse (the ‘father of aromatherapy’) burned his hand in a lab accident and then accidentally immersed it in lavender oil instead of water, thus discovering the remarkable skin-healing properties of lavender when the burn healed without a scar. Or so the story goes in most aromatherapy books…

        Lavender essential oil is thought to be an emmenagogue too, so avoided in the early stages of pregnancy, although it is supposed that many essential oils are listed as emmenagogues because the herbs are thought to be and early aromatherapy texts copied over the properties of the herb for the oil (which often has quite different chemical activity and would not be taken internally).

        Mum-to-be might be ok with lavender (the doctors at my work don’t seem to think there is an evidence base to suggest otherwise) as stories of women going into labour from herbs etc are anecdotal. But I always think it’s best to be on the safe side – you wouldn’t want the baby shower to turn into a birthing ceremony! 🙂

      • That’s fascinating information! Obviously, I don’t know much about aromatherapy…
        I can confirm that lavender is a miraculous skin healer though. I still can’t believe my hand isn’t scarred. Rene-Maurice was absolutely right!! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Divine Lime Time! | Dee's Dialogue

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