Part of a celebratory Labor Day menu designed by chef Laurie Beth Gills for a cooking class at Southern Seasons Cooking School in Richmond on August 30th Fresh
Nothing captures the pure essence of summer like fresh lemonade. This recipe, however, inspired by numerous visits to local farmers markets, delivers much more! It’s a new, healthier take on its close cousin, the iconic summer drink, and just as good, if not better. Certainly good enough to open your own neighborhood juice stand or even to add a splash of your favorite vodka for a splendid summertime cocktail. Not only does this keeper of a recipe beat the heat, but also tastes incredibly clean and vibrant! Savor and enjoy! The rest of the menu to be taught at the class includes Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs, Crispy Lollipop Chicken Wing Drumettes with Rice Vinegar and Spicy Aioli Dipping Sauce, A Master Gardener’s Potato Salad with Nasturtium Pesto Toasts and Blue Ribbon Blueberry Pound Cake with Meyer Lemon Glaze.
- 1½ lbs. farmers market carrots – peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
- 3 cups filtered water
- 1½ cups of granulated sugar (preferably organic)
- 1½ cups of filtered water
- 2-3 strips fresh lemon zest (Meyer lemons if in season)
- Fresh ginger – peeled (about a 1-inch nob)
- Fresh pineapple sage or mint – a good snip (4-5 leaves)
- 1½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (8 lemons should render about 1 ½ cups)
- 6 cups cold filtered water
- Start first by making Infused Simple Syrup. Combine sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a good simmer. Stir often so that the sugar dissolves completely, then continue to simmer for 3 additional minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon strips, ginger and pineapple sage or mint leaves. Steep for 4-5 minutes; strain, then slightly cool. Discard bits and pieces of ginger, herbs and lemon zest. Infused Simple Syrup complete!
- Once your syrup has somewhat cooled down, pour into a large pitcher or bowl. To this, add your fresh lemon juice and 6 cups cool water. Whisk well, and then chill in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, using a medium size saucepan, combine carrots and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover with a lid. Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make certain the carrots are thoroughly cooked.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Drain carrots, reserving all of the hot cooking water – should be about ¾ cup. Once carrots and water have slightly cooled, transfer together to a blender or food processor. Blend/process until completely smooth. This will render 1 ¾ cups of pureed carrots.
- Cover and refrigerate pureed carrots for about 30 minutes or more. Once cool, add to your chilled lemonade. Again, using a whisk, mix well. Serve over ice with lemon wedges and fresh herb leaves!