Blackberry Lemonade

I've disappeared for the last few days to enjoy the long labor day weekend. Spent with family and friends, it was good to step away from the kitchen and step outside for a change. The weekend weather couldn't be any more beautiful, with a sun that wouldn't stop shining, bringing warmth to the last few days of t-shirt weather.

Winter comes quickly to the plains of North Dakota.

The past couple days I've tried to breathe in the last few days of summer. To hold it in my lungs before the brisk fall air snatches it away, leaving me breathless. With the sun setting earlier each evening and a cool breeze blowing in at dusk, fall is slowly creeping its way back into its rightful time slot. I wish I could hold tightly on to summer, to the warm weather and sunlit nights. But, like a child clinging tightly on to a balloon, sooner or later the string slips from grasp and the balloon floats away high into the clouds before disappearing from sight completely.

I can't prevent fall from coming any more than you can, but I can keep summer alive for a few more days with this blackberry lemonade.

As a bit of a side note, I want to share a different kind of story with you.

I spent Saturday in Minot, ND. Recently devastated by record flooding (imagine homes up to the roofs in water), it is a town in a state of rebuild. It may be a small town of only 40,000 people, but the people have some of the biggest hearts I've ever seen, including actor Josh Duhamel who calls Minot his hometown. Josh, hearing the news of the devastation, brought none other than his wife Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas to play a benefit concert in Minot, with all proceeds going towards the flood victims. At $100 a ticket, corporate sponsorships, and a sold out venue, over $1.2 million dollars were raised for the cause.

I'm telling you this because I think it's important to know what kind of people your favorite artists and actors truly are. I want to share what the generosity of a few people—Josh Duhamel and the Black Eyed Peas—can do for the spirits and pocketbooks of a flood ravaged community. No one expected to see the Black Eyed Peas in Minot in a million years, much less playing a full concert (and I don't think anyone ever anticipated rapping about how awesome North Dakota is).

These people have earned my respect and I hope, by sharing this with you, they can earn yours too.

This Blackberry Lemonade is sweet the second it hits your tongue, but tart the moment you swallow. Both the lemon and blackberries work together to create this balanced drink where both flavors shine equally. The lemonade is as refreshing as its color is bold. I hope this blackberry lemonade can help prolong the final weeks of summer for you, too.

One Year Ago:Strawberry Shortcake

Blackberry Lemonade

Yields about 2 quarts

6 cups water, divided
1 cup sugar
4 lemons
2 cups (1 pint) fresh blackberries

In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil with the sugar. Once completely dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Juice the lemons; this will yield about 1 cup of freshly squeezed juice. In a blender, combine lemon juice and blackberries and blend until pureed. Strain mixture and discard seeds.

In a pitcher, stir together sugar water, blackberry puree, and add 4 additional cups water. Refrigerate until cool or add ice cubes to individual glasses to drink sooner. Serve with a wedge of lemon.