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Make your own lemonade

I was in a store the other day, and I saw the lemons. I thought "hey, lemonade is awesome" so I bought 10 up, and then went home to make it. It's so damn easy and so damn good. You just squeeze them into something (don't worry about pips) then add roughly 4 parts water to every 1 part lemonade in a big batch. I think 10 lemons was enough for nearly 2 litres of lemonade, but some weren't ripe and yielded less juice. Then you just add sugar to taste (in fact at a certain point the lemonade becomes saturated, and the excess sugar collects at the bottom).

That's what I did anyway, and it was DELICIOUS, with only 3 ingredients, all of them natural and good for you (well - maybe not so much the sugar).

I should add that my lemonade was quite strong so you could get away with adding more water. And if you drink loads at that strength it does make your spit go funny.

So yeah try making lemonade like you did when you were a kid and benefit! If you have kids, get them to help, oh and make sure there's some ice on hand!

Anybody got any lemonade related advice/talk?

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  1. I actually made some lemonade yesterday -- except used Stevia instead of sugar. I've also used agave nectar. So much better than those frozen concoctions or those ready-made Minute Maid ones. And a lot cheaper than sometimes paying $4 for one at a restaurant.

    "Then you just add sugar to taste (in fact at a certain point the lemonade becomes saturated, and the excess sugar collects at the bottom)."

    Wow! You must like your lemonade very sweet.

    1. One of the best things about summer is drinking loads of fresh homemade lemonade. Must be the combination of the sunshine and lemons that always makes me feel good.

      Anyway, lemonade offers so many options for variety. Add some maraschino cherry juice or grenadine, fruit puree (strawberry and raspberry are especially good), chunks of frozen fruit (instead of ice cubes) that thaw and get deliciously mushy by the time you reach the bottom of the glass, crushed mint, a splash of fresh squeezed orange or lime juice...the list goes on and on.

      I also reccomend using simple syrup instead of granulated sugar. It dissolves easier and doesn't get gritty.

      I wonder how a lemonade float would taste. The combination of lemonade, a little seltzer and vanilla ice cream seems like a good combination. I might have to give it a try!

      7 Replies
      1. re: punkin712

        You both have some great ideas. I'll try them out on the weekend. With regard to the granulated sugar, I think you're right. But it didn't tast very sweet. What I did was mix myself a glass first to test the levels. I imagine the amount of sugar was down to the 20% lemonjuice? It didn't taste sweet, it tasted very tart. I think I used about 4 tablespoons of sugar.

        *imagines delicious mint and frozen fruit*

        1. re: punkin712

          I like to make a batch of simple syrup and have in the refrigerator for things like this. It's so much smoother than granulated sugar. I also love using limes and lemons (because I can't get meyer lemons easily but nothing beats meyer lemon juice, well, except maybe a meyer lemon drop).

          1. re: chowser

            I love fresh, ice cold, homemade lemonade right after I finish mowing the lawn on a hot summer day...

            1. re: Sean

              As a variation, blend it up with ginger (will become frothy), or mint. Also use sparkling water instead of still. YUMMY.

              1. re: cleopatra999

                On that note, have you tried the Dry Meyer Lemon Soda by GUS? It is made with real juice and cane sugar, absolutely delicious...


                1. re: Sean

                  I just had my first bottle of that - I almost never buy or drink any soft drinks, but the Meyer Lemon just looked too tempting, and I liked the fact that it used cane sugar - wonderful, I agree.

            2. re: chowser

              Another vote here for simple syrup. It's terrific to have around whenever you need sugar in a cold drink. I make mine from 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, keep it in a glass bottle. No need to refrigerate!

          2. With two lemon trees in our yard we make a lot of lemonade in season.

            I also use a simple syrup. Sometimes I'll infuse that with something. we particularly like mint or lavender.

            Blackberry puree is another great and favorite addition when we can find good berries.

            I like my lemonade tart so it's usually lots of lemon juice, some simple syrup, and cold water to taste. yes, exactly those precise measurements!

            Sometimes we use pellegrino in place of plain cold water. Homemade GUS soda! (I'm too cheap to buy GUS at the store!)

            2 Replies
            1. re: ziggylu

              i use sparkling water when i make my lemonade too...although, i usually just use the big, cheap, 2 liter bottles of club soda and save the pellegrino to drink on its own...:o)

              1. re: ziggylu

                How would you infuse simple syrup with Lavender?

              2. Lemons are at their peak right around now, and since i have friends and family with Meyer lemon trees, I have a good supply. So I freeze some of it. I make a simple syrup with a high relation of sugar to water, then juice the lemons and mix them with the sugar syrup. At this point, I essentially have lemonade concentrate. I put it in plastic containers (food grade plastic is absolutely essential!) and freeze it. Then when I want lemonade in the summer, I thaw it and dilute it to taste.

                The main trick is to make sure you have the right ratio of lemon juice to sugar, since you're combining them before diluting and thus can't judge very well by taste. This takes some experimenting. Say you have enough lemon juice to make a quart of lemonade. Add a sugar syrup that contains as much sugar as you'd use for a quart. It'll be horribly sweet and extremely lemon-y, but remember, you're going to dilute it. When in doubt, go light on the sugar, since you can always add that when you're ready to drink it.

                The frozen lemonade will last about 6 months, but after that it starts to pick up the flavors of the plastic, even food-grade plastic. Must be the acidity. If you hate the idea of using plastic, you could probably find appropriately-size glass jars.

                1. This is the recipe we use for lemonade:
                  3 lemons cut into 8 pieces
                  1 1/2 cups sugar
                  1 cup water
                  6-7 cups water

                  in a blender, blend lemons, sugar and 1 cup water. Blend until smallish pieces, not too small or the lemonade will be bitter. Strain the mixture into a pitcher. Add the remaining 6-7 cups water. Chill and serve.

                  This is so simple you can whip it up in minutes.

                  1. A few ice cube trays of lemon & limeade in the freezer are handy for adding to recipes and for impromptu cocktails!

                    1. I actually made myself another glass this morning, again using stevia. But I added the smallest pinch of sea salt -- not those humongous pinches of salt you see on TV. It rounded out the flavors and made a big difference.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        Totally! Miss Needle, I was going to post about adding salt! I believe a lot of southeast asian restaurants put salt in the lemonade soda or limade soda. Some of them put the salt on the glass rim. This is not the same as using salty lemon / preserved lemon to make the drinks (I am writing this as I know someone is going to ask about it...)

                        It is sort of like adding salt to watermelon. A little bit makes a BIG difference.
                        (And you can do the same to watermelon juice!)

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          I think you're right about the salt in SEA restaurants. Ooh! I've got to try that with watermelon. It sounds delicious.

                      2. An old Amish way of making lemonade (and published by ATK as their "best" recipe for lemonade) is to cut 4 washed lemons into thin slices and remove the seeds. Put the lemon in a crock or pitcher, cover with 3/4 cup sugar and let stand for ten minutes, then press and mash the lemons with a potato masher to extract the juice and oil from the rinds. Add a quart of water and continue to mash the fruit until the lemonade is well flavored. Just before serving add ice cubes and garnish with mint.

                        I have made lemonade this way many times and like the OP said, lemonade is so refreshing on a hot summers day. With this recipe the only caveat is that the lemonade does not keep - the rind and oils in the rind make the lemonade bitter the next day. But the oils add a much fuller lemon flavor that I really like.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: janniecooks

                          I enthusiastically agree that getting zest in there somewhere gives a more, for lack of a better word, complex lemon flavor to the ade. I do a variation on that during warm weather - at least when I'm motivated enough. ;) I make a simple syrup and then steep lots of lemon zest in it. For how long depends, a day or 2 seems to do it, though longer shouldn't hurt. When I want lemonade (glass, quart, etc), I use the syrup, fresh lemon juice and water mixed to taste.

                          I usually make half a gallon of syrup at a time which is a little time consuming, but but it keeps well at room temp for some time. Eventually it will (IMX) start to ferment a bit but that takes a while.

                          1. re: janniecooks

                            This is a great way to make it with kids. A little more time consuming but I think it does taste better.

                          2. Try making a simple syrup instead of adding sugar to the cold water. It will not have sugar sitting at the bottom of your lemonade!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Mother of four

                              I make lavender lemonade in the summer (lots of lavender farms in my part of the world). I just make lavender bud tea, chill it, and use that for the water in my lemonade. It's the most beautiful rose colored drink and it tastes wonderful. It's key to NOT oversteep the lavender buds. It's super refreshing.

                              Whenever I get my raspberries home from the farmers market, the bruised ones go right into lemonade!

                              1. re: Vetter

                                Thyme or mint also works well in lemonade!

                                Actually I have a secret indulgence on "spicy" lemonade. I like to add a small Thai chili (slit open but not cut up) and salt (as previously mentioned in another post) in my own glass to add an extra kick. I love the sweet, sour, salty, and spicy combination.

                                When my mom sees this she usually goes "You are crazy!"

                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                  That reminds me-- a local pizza place here sells rosemary lemonade, which they claim to have stolen from Jerry Traunfield and the Herbfarm. It is delicious.

                            2. While digging in the dirt to prep our herb garden, I was reminded of a thread last year on CH about lemon sage and lemon thyme used in lemonade. We did grow and use the lemon sage; including making ice cubes from sage leaves in lemon concentrate to great success with unique flavors.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: HillJ

                                Hi HillJ,

                                At the restaurant Perry St (by Jean Georges) in NYC, there are a few non-alcholic drinks, one being "lemon thyme soda". They simply use add their own lemon-thyme syrup into soda water. So your version is really similar to what a top-tier restaurant uses!

                                Don't you feel good? :D

                                Another plant/herb that I have seen restaurants use with lemonade / lemon drinks is verbena.

                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                  Hi kobet, I wasn't aware of the lemon thyme soda @ Perry Street but I was grateful for the "chow tip" last year. I'll have to give verbena a go this year!

                              2. I love making lemonade! I sold lemonade at farmer's markets a couple of times. Mixed it with local berries and topped it with an edible flower. Pretty and yummy. Not bad with a shot of vodka in it either...after the market that is.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jardin32

                                  WOW! Great responses! I tried the frozen-strawberry-instead-of-icecubes and the mint, and it works great - especially if you leave them to seep in - you get a wonderful strawberry flavour.

                                  I'll have to try a few more of these ideas next weekend :D

                                  1. re: Soop

                                    Make a simple sugar syrup with rosemary. Strain out rosemary before adding to lemon juice & water.

                                2. I make it with xylitol. Be sure to brush teeth after drinking lemonade since the acid eats the calcium off one's teeth.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: lgss

                                    I have no idea where I got this recipe from, but it really is delicious on a hot day:

                                    PALESTINIAN Lemonade With Mint Leaves (serves2)

                                    Juice of 3 lemons
                                    2 oz. sugar [~ 45 grams] I use superfine
                                    25 fl oz. water [~ 700 cl]
                                    1 teaspoon essence of orange blossom
                                    A few twigs of tender fresh mint leaves
                                    Thin slices of lemon

                                    1. Squeeze the lemons and stir in t he sugar. Add water and keep on stirring, making sure all the sugar has dissolved.

                                    2. Add mint leaves, essence and a few slices of lemon and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

                                    1. re: SSqwerty

                                      Orange Blossom! As much as I love lemonade AND orange blossom I"ve never thought to combine them. I'm definitely making this soon! Thanks!

                                  2. For years, I've made *Disneyland Lemonade* from the recipe for the lemonade they serve fresh and frozen at the famous theme park in Anaheim. It, too, is made from a simple syrup. Water and sugar (in my case, Splenda) is boiled over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Then I pour the mixture it into a large glass jar and store it in the refrigerator. When I want a glass of lemonade, I squeeze a lemon (or two) into a glass and fill it half way with the syrup, then top off the glass with water and ice. Yummmmmmmy.

                                    1. I had a juice bar when I was much younger. I would juice 2 red apples and 1 1/2 lemons and pour over ice.

                                      1. Since I'm trying to avoid granulated sugar I like to make a syrup with honey and fresh ginger, mix with fresh squeezed lemon to taste (I like it very tart) and muddle some rosemary, mint and lemon verbena around the rim leaving the sprigs in the glass filled with ice. Pour syrup w/ lemon over the ice. Yum!

                                        1. We're in the midst of kitchen renovations so can't get at the cabinet with the sugar in it. I made limeade (one could also make lemonade) for my husband using maple syrup instead of sugar, it didn't even need to be stirred.

                                          1. 7up Lemonade

                                            Serves: 6

                                            Either lemon or lime juice may be used


                                            • - Ice
                                            • 2 liters 7up
                                            • 1 cup bottled lemon juice or lime juice


                                            1. Pour the 7up into a 3-quart pitcher.
                                            2. Add the lemon juice or lime juice.
                                            3. Add ice..
                                            4. Stir well and pour into a tall glass over ice cubes.
                                            5. Garnish with lemon or lime slices.

                                            1. One thing I noticed last time I made lemonade is the added layer of flavor I get from keeping a cleaned and dried used vanilla bean in my sugar jar.