The weather here in Victoria has been crazy hot over the past few weeks. As a result I have been focusing on staying hydrated, which includes seeking out some nourishing alternatives to water. Don't get me wrong, water on its own is fantastic, but when I find myself drinking a lot of it I start craving some variety.
Coconut water is a great option, however I try not to buy too much of it as I don't want to accumulate a lot of packaging. In addition Vani Hari, aka The Food Babe recently posted an expose on commercially produced coconut water that gave me pause. I prefer to go straight to the source and buy fresh young coconuts on occasion instead.
One of the beverages we have been enjoying of late is lemonade. Crisp and refreshing, lemon juice also contain vitamin c and has an alkalizing effect on your body. For a thorough summary, Dr Axe recently posted an article extolling the virtues of lemons here.
My first recipe incorporates a classic combo of fresh squeezed lemon juice and sugar - in this case, one of my all time favourite sweeteners, coconut nectar. Coconut nectar (or syrup) is a wonderful option, as it has a lower glycemic index than many of its sweet counterparts and boasts a caramel flavour that I love. Some of my other favourites would include stevia (my personal preference would be stevia leaf powder), maple syrup or honey.
To this I added steeped chamomile and lavender tea. I chose this combination of herbs for its relaxing qualities; in addition the floral note it adds to the final beverage is a lovely complement to the lemon and coconut nectar flavours. I love serving up my lemonade old school style, in a mason jar with a glass straw.
Sparkling Lavender Chamomile Lemonade
3 teaspoons chamomile
3 teaspoons lavender
4 cups water
4 organic lemons, juiced
6 Tbsp coconut nectar (more or less, to taste)
Sparkling water (I love using my soda stream for this!)
Steep the lavender and chamomile tea in 4 cups boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Add ice, or let cool to room temperature and store in the fridge overnight (my preference, when I have the time). Add the lemon juice to the tea mixture, along with 1/4 cup coconut nectar and whisk until coconut nectar is fully incorporated. Serve chilled with equal parts lemonade and sparkling water.
The second recipe I am including comes care of Ingredients Market Cafe here in Victoria. A special ingredient in their Mermaid Lemonade is spirulina, a blue green sea algae that contains chlorophyll (excellent for detoxification) and high levels of protein, along with a host of other benefits. Deanna and Cindy kindly gave me permission to share their delicious recipe below.
1/2 cup fresh apple juice (from 3-4 apples)
1/4 lemon wedge squeezed
2T coconut syrup*
1/2 cup filtered water
1/4 tsp spirulina, whisked with 2 Tbsp water to combine
* I prefer my lemonade a bit less sweet and a bit more tart, so I added 1 Tbsp coconut syrup and the juice of a full lemon.
Juice your apples and add 1/2 cup of the juice to the mason jar. Squeeze the juice from the lemon wedge into the jar. Whisk in the coconut syrup, until it has fully dissolved. Add ice and filtered water, followed by the spirulina/water mixture. Add a glass straw, and stir to combine.
Feel free to adjust the above recipes to fit your taste, and be sure to stop by Ingredients Market for a cool glass if you find yourself in downtown Victoria!
I am curious to know, what is your favourite lemonade variation to help beat the summertime heat?