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Refreshing Summer Beverages

Nothing cools you down after a hot summer day in the garden like a refreshing drink. And it feels even tastier to enjoy a beverage that you have concocted yourself, with flavors harvested from your garden or foraged in the wild.

These two summery drinks are easy to make and are perfect for sipping on a summer afternoon when you are finally ready to relax.

Cucumber Lemonade

I was amazed how easy it was to make cucumber lemonade! Tart, with a hint of sweetness, this is a great way to use an extra cucumber from your garden.

What You'll Need

1 large cucumber, peeled

Juice of 5 lemons

1/3 cup granulated sugar (more if you desire a sweeter taste - you can use honey if you prefer)

3 cups of water

Cut the cucumber into small slices and place the pieces in a blender. Add 1 cup of water and blend together until the cucumber is reduced to a watery pulp.

Using a strainer or cheesecloth, pour the juice from the cucumber into a bowl.

Add the lemon juice, sugar, and remaining two cups of water, and stir together to combine.

Distribute the juice into jars or bottles and store in the refrigerator.

Elderflower Cordial

Something about the word "cordial" made me think that this drink would require a lot more heating and stirring than it did. Time is precious on a farm in the summer, and this took minimal time to make. The sweet flavor is perfect and flowery, and batches can be frozen to enjoy long after the elderflowers have passed.

If you don't grow elderberry bushes, keep an eye out for their white flowers in damp places and swamps. Do a little bit of research before foraging to make sure you harvest elderflowers and not the similar looking but poisonous Water Hemlock.

What You'll Need

2 cups of granulated sugar

4 tablespoons of honey

4 cups of water

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of one lemon

15 heads of elderflower

Carefully wash the elderflowers, picking off any bugs and trimming the stems.

Combine the sugar, honey, and water in a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly to help dissolve the sugar.

Once the water is boiling, add the lemon zest and the elderflowers. Make sure that all of the blossoms are fully submerged. Add the juice from the of the lemons, and you can also slice the remaining lemon in half and include that in the pot.

Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and set aside to infuse for 24 hours.

When ready, use cheesecloth to strain the cordial into jars or bottles of your choice. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.


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