I must say, I have never put so many quotes into practice in one short day! We were walking home from church a couple of weeks ago, and a man in his driveway asked if we wanted a bag of lemons. I’m not one to pass up free stuff...especially lemons, so I eagerly accepted. I use lemon juice in many recipes and over the years have transitioned almost exclusively from the lemon concentrate bought on the grocery store shelves to fresh lemons. My sis has a lemon tree, so every once in awhile I get a bag full from her. Being spoiled on free, fresh off-the-tree lemons makes buying a lemon especially painful. The key to the story is that when the man offered a bag of lemons, I didn’t realize I would be lugging at least 15 pounds of lemons home! I had a few lemons in the frig from my sister’s last installment and another bag of lemons from her on the way. If you need a lemon...stop by my house!
Thankfully, the man kindly suggested I make some freshly squeezed lemonade as we walked away toward our house. Little boy #2 heard and thought it quite a delightful idea. I had never made fresh lemonade before and now had a large bag of incentives on my kitchen floor.
The thing about lemonade recipes is the big “to taste” factor. When I look for a recipe, I actually am looking for measurements, not “a few lemons, to taste” followed by, “some sugar, to taste,” etc. Obviously, everyone’s taste buds do differ, so you can alter this to your taste by reducing or increasing the sugar and water. However, I have made a few batches of the lemonade recipe I am going to give you below and think it is a good base to start from or enjoy as is. It yields a lemony but not tart, sweet but not sugary beverage to be enjoyed on a sunny afternoon...or over ice with a splash of vodka.
For those of you experiencing the throes of winter, tuck this away for springtime. If you are in my neck of the woods, shocked by 88 degree temps at the beginning of February, whip out some glasses and sip to the beginning of spring...err summer!
Yields: ~2 1/2 quarts
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup superfine sugar**
2 cups crushed ice
6 cups water
Squeeze lemons. Pour through a fine-strainer to eliminate any remaining pulp and seeds. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until completely smooth. Unless you have a large blender, you will probably have to do a couple of batches. Put the first 3 ingredients in the blender and 2 cups of water, blend. Pour half of the contents into a pitcher. Add the remaining 4 cups of water, blend. Stir in with the lemonade in the pitcher.
**I have made this with 100% sugar as well as with a sugar substitute for a low-calorie version. I used the same amount of sugar/sugar substitute both times. However, since sugar substitute can be a little more potent, try reducing the sugar by 1/4 cup if you want to make sure the lemonade is not too sweet. You can always add more.