Spring is such a beautiful time……..the air somehow feels cleaner, the grass starts to turn green, tulips and daffodils start peaking out from the earth. In the markets, the first batch of berries start appearing around march and are in full season by april. I love working with strawberries then. They are juicy, sweet and tangy. Such a beautiful colour….heart shaped, plump and just plain delicious !!! There are so many things you can make with….fresh strawberry sorbet, strawberry cake, strawberry milkshakes and my personal favourite…..Strawberry Lemonade . You would think I would add chocolate covered strawberries in that list but I am not fond of them !
You really don’t have to wait till spring to have this….there are some excellent brands of frozen strawberries that have the same taste as fresh strawberries. We recently celebrated N’s 6th b’day and I wanted to make something different for the kids to drink but also a little exotic for the adults to drink as well. So I took inspiration from a recipe of Giada De Laurentis from the food network and came up with CARDAMOM INFUSED STRAWBERRY LEMONADE . It might sound a little odd but it is truly delicious. I make a cake with strawberries and cardamom that tastes out of this world. So I took my cue from these 2 recipes and came up with this gorgeous ruby red , sweet, tangy liquid.
CARDAMOM INFUSED STRAWBERRY LEMONADE
1 bag ( 12 oz ) frozen strawberries or ¾th pint fresh strawberries
1 can ( 12 oz ) frozen lemonade concentrate
1 cup cardamom infused simple syrup
3 cups water
Cardamom infused Simple Syrup:
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
5-6 green cardamom pods
If using fresh strawberries, wash and clean them by removing the stems. Wipe them dry and set asideIn a blender, blend the thawed strawberries or fresh strawberries , thawed frozen lemonade concentrate and syrup till smooth.
Pour into a pitcher and then add the water and mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Pour into glasses with ice and serve.
To make the cardamom infused simple syrup:
Combine the water, sugar and cardamom pods in a saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a boil and then simmer till the sugar is dissolved. Make sure you stir occasionally. It will take about 5 minutes.
Cool for about 20 minutes and strain before use.
Just the colour of this drink is impressive……….ruby red just like the gems. The lemonade is sweet and tart. It as a hint of pepperiness and floral aroma from the cardamom. Just the hint of exotic to make it different but simple and classic. It has a side benefit of being pretty healthy too. Strawberries have many benefits……..it is a heart protective fruit, an anti cancer fruit and an inflammatory fruit all rolled into one. Cardamom, from the ginger family, helps with throat troubles and congestion in the lungs. You can adjust the amount of simple syrup according to the sweetness of the strawberries. You can also garnish with lemon slices and mint sprigs. It makes a great party drink for those who do not want alcohol. Lets face it this is an ideal summer drink especially when the temperatures rising ! The recipe that is on food network is made with different kinds of berries and a vanilla simple syrup. Work with the combination that suits you best.