In keeping with my desire to thoroughly investigate lazy gardening, this post is about the current “ To Do in the Garden” tip on WeedingWildSuburbia:
Sit in a comfortable chair with a glass of iced tea!
Rather than weeding, pruning or watering, today I harvested some of the fruits of my garden to create a refreshing summer drink. Not exactly an iced tea, but rather something of a lemonade/mojito drink. I made it for my daughter to take on a picnic so I left out the alcohol but I really think it would be greatly improved with some rum and club soda. Anyway, the main ingredients are Roger’s Red wild grapes, wild sage, lemon juice, and honey.
Though I am not a recipe kind of person, I actually did try to keep track of what I put in this concoction. So here goes, but, please, don’t hold me responsible for the quantities. My style is much more “you add a bit of this and a bit of that.” Actually, don’t hold me responsible for any of this. If you try it, you are on your own.
With that disclaimer, here’s the recipe:
2 Tb honey
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup grape juice from wild grapes
1 Tb wild sage leaves
1/2 cup lemon juice
splash of vinegar
pinch of salt
sweeten to taste with agave nectar
- Stir honey into hot water.
- Pick about 4 bunches of Roger’s Red wild grapes. Grapes should be dark blue to black in color. Clean grapes and remove stems. Squish grapes in foley mill to separate skin and seeds from juice. This should make about 1/2 cup of a liquid of the most beautiful color you have ever laid eyes on.
- Pour honey water and grape juice into blender. Add lemon juice. I use ice cubes that I made from the over abundance of Meyer’s lemons that my tree produced in the early spring. I added 2 lemon cubes.
- Add coarsely chopped wild sage leaves. (I have a favorite but I am not sure whether it is the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden cross – Salvia brandegeei x munzii, or the selection, S. munzii ‘Baja Blue’. I had both, though I removed one this year. Their leaves are almost identical but one plant is less upright, more mounding than the other, and it blooms earlier in the year. That one is the one with the wonderful smell. I planted them next to each other so I could learn to distinguish them and then lost their tags. To make it even more confusing, neither looks like a munzii, both look more like brandegeei. Alas, I am befuddled and if anyone out there can straighten me out I’d be forever in your debt. To simplify, use the wild sage that smells the best to you.)
- Add more ice cubes and blend some more. The final amount was about a quart – it fit in the blender comfortably.
- Taste. At this point, with repeated tasting, I added a bit more sweetener (agave nectar), a pinch of salt, and a splash of vinegar. I find that a pinch of salt really deepens the taste of sweet things. You never taste the salt but somehow it tastes richer.
Picture taken by Lizzie Eisenstein. Basket of grapes, a lemon and 2 types of sage, Salvia ‘Mrs. Beard’, that I didn’t use, and S. whatever, that I did use.