This is a recipe for fun using the vibrant pink blossoms of the very edible and very common Rosebay Willowherb or Fireweed.
Despite the rainy days of July this year, this tall elegant flower continues to light up the wild meadows and hedgerows around the country. Hence it's other name, fireweed! It is bright and spiky like fire but it also populates burned ground after a fire - can't keep a good plant down!
This recipe is really just a simple lemonade recipe with the addition of the fireweed blossoms for that unusual pink colour for fun or to impress and entertain your dinner guests, your kids, yourself - whoever!
I choose to add the rind of the lemon (if I can get unwaxed organic) and I add a little less sugar - that's the way I like it. Adding lemon shell to the lemonade after squeezing the juice provides an extra citrusy depth to the lemonade.
A medium sized clean (odour free) saucepan
Sieve or fine meshed strainer
Funnel - is handy if you are decanting the liquid into a narrow neck bottle
1.5ltr glass bottle or two 750ml bottles - it's a fancier looking way of serving lemonade ;-). I also think that drinks taste better out of a glass bottle. However, feel free to use whatever is convenient for chilling and storage.
Large spoon for stirring
2 tablespoons of fireweed blossom
Juice of 2 lemons
Whole lemon rinds - after juicing. (preferably organic, unwaxed)
1.5ltr of water
Half a cup of sugar - or to taste. I think it's good to experiment here. You can also use a sugar-free alternative like stevia or go full face puckering sugar free!! Not for the weak! :-D
So far so simples...
Add sugar and water to the saucepan first and begin to heat and stir
Add lemon juice, lemons, fireweed blossom and stir again.
Bring to the boil, allow to simmer for no more than 5mins
Turn off heat, allow to cool and cover the saucepan. Leave the mixture to rest overnight or for at least 4-5 hours. The longer you leave it, the more the colour of the flowers is extracted. If you have added the lemon halves, it may also enhance the flavour from the rind. Taste the lemonade at this stage and remove the lemon halves if you are already happy with the lemony flavour.
After leaving to cool, remove the lemon halves (if you haven't already) and strain the whole mixture through a seive or strainer with fine wire mesh. Transfer to glass bottles and chill in the refrigerator.
Invite your friends and family around, serve in fancy glasses with a little flower on top. Talk about how amazing the lemonade is - wow your loved ones with your foraging talents. Add vodka, have a party... etc etc etc...