Strawberry fever may go to your head and suddenly you find yourself with more berries than you know what to do with at the moment. There is a good chance that some at the bottom of the carton will be a little less camera ready than the ones up top. They are still tasty and juicy but not pretty. A gorgeous local berry is a terrible thing to waste. When that happens make a batch of strawberry basil lemonade. (You can certainly make this recipe with pristine berries, too.)
Strawberry Basil Lemonade
For the syrup:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced 1/2 inch thick, divided
1/2 cup tightly packed basil leaves, divided
For the lemonade:
4 cups cold water
1 cup lemon juice, chilled
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Add half of the strawberries, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the strawberries have softened, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, add half the basil leaves, and stir. Cool to room temperature.
Strain through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Pour the water, lemon juice, and 3/4 cups of the strawberry-basil syrup into a pitcher and stir to combine. Add additional strawberry-basil syrup as needed.
Pour over ice and garnish with sliced strawberries and basil leaves.
Editor's Note: Rachel Weston is a food writer and culinary educator. Her first book '"New Jersey Fresh: Four Seasons from Farm to Table" is a collection of recipe ideas and tips for more than 50 types of locally grown produce available at farmers markets in the Garden State. The book is available in the Amazon shop on RachelJWeston.com.