I often wonder why I am so smitten with gardening. I don’t have generations of farming in my heritage nor do I have any memories of canning vegetables or making jam as a child. So where does this need to dig around in the dirt and walk around my garden in search of new buds come from? I have many theories, but the most practical one is that I can grow flowers, fruit and vegetables that I simply can’t find in the stores in my area. Or, shall I say find affordably in my area.
A few months ago, I walked into a local florist shop and saw dahlias in their cooler. Surprised to see dahlias in the spring, I asked the manager the price per stem (which, by the way, had a single flower on it) – $12 (!!). Needless to say, I did not put together a big, beautiful bouquet of dahlias that day. Another example – mint. Yes, I can find mint at the local grocery store but at the staggering cost of about 4 itty-bitty stems for $2.29. You can understand why, when I started gardening a few years ago, spearmint was the first thing on my list to plant. I had aspirations of having enough mint on hand to have a perpetual pitcher of iced spearmint tea in my refrigerator. And five years later, that plant has certainly delivered!
If you have a mint plant growing in your yard, you know that after a couple of years the plant starts to become very prolific – to the point that you need to find a constant stream of recipes to consume all of that beautiful, fragrant mint. Look no further! This is my go-to recipe for Minted Lemonade. The mint is steeped in just-boiled water to extract its flavor, which is then incorporated into the lemonade. Enjoy!
Fresh Minted Lemonade
Makes about 3 Quarts
½ c. granulated sugar
½ c. water
3 quarts of water
large bunch of mint (8-12 springs)
1 cup lemon juice (from approximately 6 lemons)
Make Sugar Syrup: Combine sugar and water in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until sugar has completely dissolved, stirring occasionally.
Steeping Mint: Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Turn off heat and add mint to the pot, making sure that mint is completely immersed in the water. Cover the pot and let steep for 30 minutes.
Make Lemonade: Pour mint-steeped water into a pitcher (for best results, pour through a strainer to remove bits of mint). Add lemon juice and sugar syrup to pitcher and stir completely.
Play around with the quantities of sugar syrup and lemon juice to suit your own taste – my family prefers a less-tart lemonade and I prefer less sugar, so this recipe makes a “light lemonade”, which I prefer to allow the delicate flavor of the mint to come through. Enjoy!
~Michelle @ ww.TheArtofLivingBlissfully.com