Sandwiches aren’t the only thing I do. This summer I discovered the superiority of home made virgin lemonade. Virgin means that the ingredients are simple and pure: lemons, sugar, and water. I let my friend Jennifer try some and she was so impressed she made some of her own and took it up a notch or three; we ended up making 18 different flavors of lemonade! I’m going to share them over the coming weeks.
The most important thing is the lemon juice has to be squeezed from the lemons directly and used right away. Lemon juice takes on a different flavor after about twelve hours from squeezing, so freshness is important. You can use a reamer or a juicer to gather your juice in a large container. Tip: toss your lemons in the microwave for a few seconds per lemon and roll the lemon to get the most juce. We used a wire mesh strainer to keep out the seeds. This also keeps out the pulp, so if you like pulpy lemonade toss some back in the lemon juice when done. I typically add 1 tablespoon pulp per 1 cup of lemon juice.
Sugar in its granulated form takes a lot of stirring to mix into Lemonade, otherwise you end up with a layer of sugar in the bottom of the pitcher. The best solution is to make simple syrup. All it takes to make simple syrup is one part water to one part sugar in a sauce pan on low heat. Once all the sugar is dissolved, the syrup is ready to use. I like to add a few scrapes of lemon zest (rind of the lemon) to the simple syrup to give it a nice lemony smell. Not too much, about a quarter of the lemon for 1 cup, depending on the fragrance of your lemons
So, what I’ve found to be the best ratio for Lemonade is one part lemon juice, one part simple syrup, and six parts water. That means one cup of juice and 1 cup of syrup will give you two quarts of lemonade, or four decent sized glasses. always pour your lemonade into a cup filled with lots of ice, the colder the lemonade is the better. Some people use about four parts water to their lemonade, but I’ve found that to be much too strong. You can always add ice to you pitcher if it is still too intense.
Straight up Lemonade will last about five days in the fridge, but it tastes the best the first day. The flavor will grow stronger the next day, both the lemon and the sweetness will intensify.
So there you have it, the first lemonade of my series. It’s pure and simple, easy to make and it tastes great. There is a weird feeling of accomplishment I feel after making a batch of lemonade. I hope there are other people out there that are as passionate about lemonade as we are. Check back in the coming weeks for more flavors of lemonade we have tried.
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup simple syrup (lemon zest to taste)
- 6 cups water