lovely glass of lemonade, pull up a seat outside, find a place in the shade if you can. Put your feet up, and put the sunglasses on, flip through the pages of a magazine… yes, it’s summertime. And as the weather gets warmer in this part of the world, my little family of two can go through a lot of cold drinks in a day. If you’ve got a few kids, or want to go on a picnic, or take a daytrip to the beach – well, before you know it, you’ve spent a fortune on artificially flavoured, coloured water.
OK. So this week I’ve been working on the cure for Kool-Aid. (Or, does anybody remember Tang? Do they still make it? It was an astronaut-inspired ‘orange’ drink that was around a lot when I was a kid.)
I thought it was going to be easy. But do you know how many different recipes there are in the world for lemonade? Hard to believe it’s so complicated when there’s really only three ingredients: sugar, water, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
First things first. The lemons. Sometimes they’re on sale for ridiculously cheap prices. So I thought I should create a recipe that makes frozen lemonade concentrate rather than lemonade, so that you can make the concentrate when lemons are on sale.
In a saucepan, stir together 1½ cups of white sugar (375 mL) and 1 cup (250 mL) of water. Heat until the mixture boils and the sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
Meanwhile, juice 8 medium-sized lemons until you get 1½ cups (375 mL) of juice. You may need to strain your juice if you have pits or too much pulp. Once the sugar syrup has cooled a bit, add the juice, stir, and then put in a plastic container with a lid in the freezer. This is about 3 cups (750 mL) worth of concentrate. Freeze solid. Can be stored for up to 6 months.
On a hot sunny day when you feel like a lovely drink, defrost the concentrate. To make a big jug, mix the entire 3 cups (750 mL) of concentrate with 3 cups (750 mL) of water. Fill glasses 3/4 full, and top with ice cubes or fizzy soda water. To make only one glass, combine equal parts concentrate with water, and keep the rest of the concentrate in the fridge for later.
You can freeze raspberries, blueberries or cherries in ice cube trays to add colour. Fill the trays halfway with water, put in the fruit (which will float), and freeze. Once solid, you can top up with additional water to cover the fruit, and freeze again.
Variations: Mix lemonade with cranberry juice and soda water … mix equal parts iced tea with lemonade … float a bit of rosemary in your lemonade … mix lemon and orange juice to make the concentrate … grate a bit of the peel into the concentrate to intensify the lemon-y flavour, and strain before serving … add a shot of your favourite alcohol (tequila, vodka , or white rum)…
And congratulate yourself. You’re not drinking a lemon-lime mix that is “10% real juice”. You’re drinking the real thing :)
Thanks and bon appetit!
Shelley MacDonald Beaulieu, Owner & Head Chef
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