Lemonade must naturally run through our American blood because we can never seem to get enough of it. Starting with the childhood lemonade stand and continuing on with the pitcher that remains a staple of every summer holiday spread, this tart-sweet beverage is as much a part of our culture as barbecue and apple pie.
This herb-infused raspberry lemonade from Andie of Honest Plates is an example of what Andie does best – simple and healthy vegetarian food. Her talent for photography is as refined as her dishes, clearly demonstrating the grace and vision that defines her wide range of plant-based meals. If you are looking for something to feed both your eyes and your belly, Andie serves up a feast regularly. Here is Andie with a few notes of inspiration…
Summer is the best time to make use of the wide variety of therapeutic herbs that are available – drying and storing them for later use. If you associate herbal infusions with only hot drinks, I suggest that you’re making a big mistake: They’re absolutely wonderful when mixed with seasonal fruit and citruses into iced drinks! Hence, the inspiration behind this herb-infused lemonade. The proportion I use is one teaspoon of herbs to one cup of water.
The most important thing to know about plant infusions is that the water temperature determines both the amount of nutrients that the plants releases into the water, and the amount of microorganisms present (like E. coli, yeasts, and molds). Although the desire to have more nutrients in our beverages might lead us to using water at lower temperatures for brewing, a study carried out by German researchers shows that the safest temperature for human consumption is 195 degrees F. This ensures that no bad guys make it out alive – something to keep in mind when brewing at home.
Herb-Infused Raspberry Lemonade
3 pints (or 6 cups) boiling water
6 tsp organic herbs (chamomile, elderflower, rosemary, verbena, mint, etc.)
¼ cup raw honey, date or maple syrup, or to taste
zest and juice of 2 organic lemons
1 cup raspberries
Put the herbs in a heat-resistant jug and cover them with the boiling water. Let stand in a cool, dark place for maximum 12 hours (overnight).
Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth; pour infusion into a blender together with the honey, zest and juice of the two lemons, the raspberries and ½ cup ice-cubes. Blend well, if necessary strain again, then serve with lots of ice and lemon slices.