I did intend to post this on 16th, but have ended up back posting. It has been a busy week…
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, or so the saying goes… This presumably means you should make the very best of life’s ‘sour’ situations: but definitely no metaphorical lemons here today! This should really have been a day for writing about ‘bubbly’ (rather than lemonade) as the vicar and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage, but the fizzy stuff is being saved for the celebrations with friends and family in a week or so. As for lemons, our market has been full of them recently and I absolutely love home made lemonade, with just enough sugar to take away the excessive sourness … and topped up with sparkling rather than still water we can still have fizz – life is sweet!
Lemonade is easy to make and definitely a good recipe for the novice cook: it was one of the first I was taught at Domestic Science in school (DS – definitely before the days of Food Technology). With the advent of the microwave oven the method has become simpler and I have given both methods below. Herb, spice or other fruit flavours can be incorporated into the the basic lemon (or orange, or lime, or mixed citrus fruit) syrup. For a long hot summer, whatever that might be (!), or as a time saver, prepare a larger quantity and keep a ready supply of undiluted blocks of sugared zesty lemon in freeze. Dissolve, as required, in the correct quantity of water. Simply strain once defrosted before serving. It will cool the water as it melts – simple!
Traditional Style Lemonade
4-6 tbsp granulated sugar (according to personal preference)
(fructose or another sweetener can be substituted)
2 large/3 small lemons – zested & freshly squeezed
1 litre/1¾pints water – still or sparkling.
1. Using a little detergent wash the lemons to remove waxy coating and rinse well
2. Put the lemons in a microwave for about 20 seconds on full power. This burst of heat releases a little extra juice. I understand a similar effect can be had by apply light pressure with the hand and rolling the lemon backwards and forwards on the work surface, although I have not tried it.
3. Zest the lemons into a microwaveproof bowl, avoiding the white pith which will make the drink bitter. (Use a saucepan for the stovetop method). Add the squeezed lemon juice and the sugar.
4. Heat in the microwave, stirring from time to time … alternatively, heat on the stove top, stirring. Remove from the microwave or heat once the sugar has dissolved. Taste and add more sugar if needed. This takes around two minutes.
5. Leave to cool and to allow the zest to fully infuse.
6. Strain and dilute with still or sparkling water. Serve over ice decorated with slices of fresh lemon.
7. If this recipe is doubled – or more – the portions should be frozen preferably unstrained and definitely undiluted.
Alternatives: (suggested quantities to substitute)
Traditional Style Orangeade – 2 small oranges
Traditional Style Limeade – 3-4 limes
Traditional Style Lemon & Limeade – 1 lemon & 2 limes
Traditional Style Mixed Citrus-ade – 1 orange, 1 lemon, 1 lime
Traditional Style Grapefruit-ade – 1-2 grapefruit (preferably sweet pink variety) – may need extra sugar and water if using two grapefruit