Courtesy of my friends Deborah and Steve Nathe, owners of Winding Brook Estate, a 16-acre lavender farm in Eureka, Missouri, this recipe is one of their favorite ways to use farm-fresh (or dried) lavender in the dog days of summer.

Herbal Essence | Photo by Susan Jackson

About 6 1/2 refreshing cups (52 oz/1.5 l)

Prep Talk

Either fresh or dried lavender buds will work just fine. Expect some trial and error to adjust the lavender strength to your liking.

  • 1 cup (6.9 oz/196 g) granulated sugar
  • About 2 tablespoons fresh or dried lavender buds (Note: I use dried buds from Penzeys Spices. Feel free to adjust the quantity of lavender to taste.)
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 6 cups (48.0 oz/1.4 l) water, divided
  • 1/2 cup (4.0 oz/118 ml) strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon slices and fresh lavender sprigs, for garnish (optional)

1 | Prep the lavender syrup. Combine the sugar, lavender buds, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade attachment. Process for 30 seconds or so, until the lavender and lemon zest are coarsely chopped.

Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium stainless steel saucepan and add 2 cups (16 oz/473 ml) water. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring as needed to make sure the sugar completely dissolves. Boil about 1 minute; then remove from the heat and let the lavender and lemon zest steep in the syrup about 30 minutes.

2 | Transform the syrup into lemonade. Strain the lavender syrup into a large pitcher. Discard the solids. Stir in the remaining 4 cups (32 oz/946 ml) water and lemon juice; then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Serve over ice with lemon slices and fresh lavender sprigs, as desired.