Being from the South, I would have guessed that lemonade originated from this part of the world. It is just because, on hot summer days, we Southerners are really good at sitting on front porches, side porches, or in backyards, sipping lemonade. It is the perfect time to catch up with family and friends while getting a reprieve from the heat. But come to find out, lemonade goes way back. All the way back to 1000 AD when lemonade was first recorded in medieval Egypt. It is one of those drinks that is just too good to take off of the menu.
I never thought that the classic lemonade recipe of lemons, water, and something sweet could get any better. Until, I learned about the butterfly pea flower. Dun-da-dah! The butterfly pea flower is native to Southeast Asia and has been brewed into teas there since ancient times. It is still commonly used today in cooking to color food. This is the part that had me jumping for joy!
The butterfly pea flower is 100% natural and is not a color additive. Artificial dyes are found in thousands of food products, mostly which are aimed at children. This report http://tinyurl.com/2dsxlvd shares how nine of the currently approved food dyes are a rainbow of health risks. This kind of information has me running for the hills away from artificial food dyes and into the arms of plant based food dyes.
The most amazing thing about the color of the butterfly pea flower is that it changes depending on brewing time, quantity of flowers, and pH levels. The tea will begin as a turquoise green and fade into a deeper blue. By raising its acidity levels, say with lemon, the tea will turn from a vibrant purple to a mysterious magenta color.
Butterfly lemonade is the recipe I often reach for when entertaining. The alchemy of this drink is incredible to watch. Make it in front of your guests and they will be oohing and aahing at your magic trick skills.
This lemonade is so good that I like to make a pitcher of it at a time. This recipe makes about four, large glasses.
You will need these ingredients:
- 8 cups of water
- 8-10 butterfly pea flowers
- 1-2 tablespoons sweetener like honey or agave
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3-6 lemon stars or lemon slices
- 3-6 edible flowers like nasturtiums or violets
- Boil water.
- Steep flowers.
- Strain the flowers.
- Stir in your sweetener.
- Allow the tea to cool.
- Add lemon juice.
- Stir well and garnish with lemon stars and edible flowers.
Step by step:
Begin by making the butterfly pea tea. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Once it begins to boil, remove it from the heat and add the flowers to the water.
Cover the pot and allow the flowers to steep 5-10 minutes. Stir in your sweeter while the tea is still warm so that it will combine easier. Allow the tea to cool. You will see the beautiful blue color begin to appear.
If you want to show your guests the magical color transformation, wait to add the lemon juice in front of them. Otherwise, add the lemon juice now. Stir well and pour into a glass pitcher with ice. I like to use a transparent pitcher so that the vibrant color of this drink decorates the table. Lemon stars and edible flowers are my favorite garnishes. Learn how to make lemon stars here