Sunday, June 19, 2011

fresh squeezed lemonade

Lemonade is a beautiful thing.  I'm so happy to have a lemon tree but if you don't, there are tons of trees around town heavy with fruit: make friends with your neighbor or stake out a tree that's easy to reach.  And they are almost always in season here in san diego.

Here's my basic recipe:
in a 1 gallon container -
2 - 2  1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (including pulp)
zest of a lemon (optional)
1  1/2 - 2 cups your preferred sweetener (I usually use agave or a simple syrup made from evaporated cane juice and sometimes half honey)
Fill the rest of the container with water.

Lemonade is very easy to rift on using a vast array of seasonal ingredients.  Add any of these ingredients before filling the container with water.  All amounts are approximate, so just use what you got and adjust to taste:
a tablespoon of zest and/or the juice of lime, buddha hand, tangerine,  orange, grapefruit, and/or kumquat
a handful of fresh lavender or rose geranium, steeped in a cup of hot water for 20 minutes, strained
1 cup cucumber, blended and a handful of fresh mint, blended and strained
8 cups watermelon, seeded and blended
a cup pineapple guava or dragon fruit, blended
a cup pomegranate juice
a cup berries, blended (and maybe strained; blueberry was a favorite)

My little sister and I recently made an amazing lemonade with mulberries from my tree and strawberries and blackberries from the farmers market.

I also love to cut the sweetness by mixing lemonades with various iced teas and herbal tisanes.

Here's a few of my favorite combos:

  • raspberry lemonade & mint tisane
  • orange lemonade & white peony tea
  • mixed citrus or berry lemonade & jamaica (hibiscus tisane)
  • lemonade & oolong tea
  • citrus lemonade & black assam ginger tea

Serve over ice and garnish with edible flowers!

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