Lemonade is summer relief in liquid form. What the sun’s rays drain from us in the high heat of summer, lemonade replenishes and refreshes. It’s more than simple coincidence that peak lemon season happens to coincide with start of summer, it’s a sign that these bright yellow beauties are meant to be enjoyed as the temperatures rise, and what better way to do that than lemonade!
You may think that you can just go to Aisle 5 of your local grocery store, pick up a can of powdered lemonade drink, add some water, and announce that summer has officially begun. But have you looked at the ingredient list on that powdered stuff? The popular brand has 14 ingredients, including maltodextrin, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium citrate, magnesium oxide, calcium fumarate, soy lecithin, artificial color, yellow 5 lake, tocopherol. Now, I’m not a scientist, but I’m pretty sure that none of those ingredients are geek-speak for lemon and that lemons don’t get their color from yellow 5 lake.
How many ingredients should lemonade have? Three: lemons, sugar, and water. That’s all you need to make the most refreshing, mouth-puckering lemonade you’ll taste all summer.
Tips For Getting The Most Juice Out Of Your Lemons
Simply cutting a lemon and squeezing out the juice will work, but it will take a lot more lemons to fill that cup and it will leave a lot of wasted juice inside the lemons. If you want to extract the most from your lemons or any other citrus, follow these tips:
- Use ripe lemons.
- Let your lemons come up to room temperature. They’ll produce more juice than those right out of the refrigerator.
- Microwave the lemons for 15-20 seconds. You don’t want to boil them, but this helps them release more juice.
- Roll the lemons around on the counter with the palm of your hand a few times.
- If you don’t have a juicer, use a fork to really dig in to the lemons in between squeezes.
Even if you extract every last drop of juice from each lemon, it still takes a lot of lemons to make lemonade. But with this recipe, their sacrifice will not go to waste!
1 cup lemon juice (from 6 – 7 lemons)
1 cup sugar
7 cups water, separated
Squeeze the lemons through a sieve until you have 1 cup of juice. You’ll want to remove all the seeds, but you can push some pulp through for a more homestyle twist.
Combine the sugar with 1 cup of water in a sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. (Congrats, you just made simple syrup!) Remove the sauce pan from heat and allow to cool for 15-30 minutes.
Combine the lemon juice and simple syrup with the rest of the water. Stir well.
Chill the lemonade for at least an hour before serving.
I used just shy of a 5 pound back of lemons to get the cup of lemon juice, but the lemons weren’t overly juicy. Remember, it’s better to have extra and use those for garnish than not have enough.
Lemons can be expensive, especially when you need an entire bag to make a few pitchers of lemonade. Check a bulk store such as Costco to find a good deal.
My wife came up with the idea of serving the lemonade in 1/2 pint mason jars. For the kids, we had some lids with pre-drilled holes for straws, so they were both attractive and function.