Ok Houston, it’s still hot out there! And it’s the perfect time for some refreshing homemade lemonade. In this special recipe we will be using some of summer’s bounty fresh strawberries and the sumptuous rich flavor of vanilla to create a delicious drink. The ingredients are simple so you can splurge and use real vanilla bean. If you have not worked with one before, they are easy to use. Take a sharp paring knife and split the bean down the middle. Then take one half of the bean and with the knife scrape out the little black seeds and add it to the simple syrup. Don’t discard the used bean; it can be used to make vanilla sugar along with the seeds from the other half of the bean. Or, let it dry out and add it to your whole coffee beans and grind them together to make vanilla coffee. Yum! Let’s get to it.
Vanilla Strawberry Lemonade:
1lb fresh strawberries, washed, dried and stems removed
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
½ vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup fresh lemon juice (5-6 lemons)
4 cups water
Garnish with thin lemon slices in pitcher.
Combine strawberries, water and sugar in a saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until strawberries are soft and break down and most of the liquid has evaporated and thickened.
Turn off heat and taste for sweetness, add more sugar if needed.
Make and Combine Simple Syrup:
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan heat until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat and let cool.
Once mixture has cooled down add the vanilla bean seeds.
Combine the fresh lemon juice and all of the simple syrup in a pitcher.
Add half of strawberries and mix to combine.
Add the 4 cups of water lemon slices and the remaining strawberries mix well to combine.
Taste and add sugar if needed.
Serve with ice. ENJOY!