Kate got some Limes the other day at Wegmans for some cookies she was making (more on how those turned out when she decides to blog all about them).
I decided to get some lemons and make real home made lemonade. I had the powdered stuff and the stuff they sell at the county fair and it just doesn't taste the same unless you make it yourself.
Its easy! It takes a few minutes, but if you read all the stuff they put in the powdered stuff, you would be surprised. The best-selling powdered stuff has: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sugar, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (To Preserve Freshness), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Glycerol Ester Of Wood Rosin, Natural Flavor, Yellow 5 and Ascorbyl Palmitate.
Water, Lemon Juice and Sugar.
Here is what you need:
1.5 cups of Sugar and
First, you need to make some simple syrup. If you tried to dissolve a cup and a half of sugar into some water, even at room temperature, it would leave some of the crystals laying at the bottom, which is OK if you are a bee, but I like a consistent taste from my lemonade and that means all the sugar crystals need to be thoroughly dissolved.
To make simple syrup, just get a sauce pan and empty 2 cups of water into it. Turn the stove burner on to 6 and then add 2 cups of sugar. Meanwhile, start to cut the lemons and prepare a medium bowl with a strainer over it to catch the lemon pulp. I zested the lemons and set those aside, so that my wife could use the zest for some other recipe and set that aside. Better to get everything you can out of the lemon that you can.
While the syrup is setting up, be sure to stir it every few minutes and watch for boiling bubbles forming. When it comes to a boil, shut it off and set it on a burner that is not being used.
The Lemon Reamer, get one of these, otherwise you are just wasting your time squeezing.
Cut all your lemons and squeeze every last drop of juice out of them that you can. Some use a juicer, I use a wooden tool that I got at the store for $3. Its called a lemon reamer and it works much better than using your hands to squeeze out every drop. You would need Popeye-sized arms to be able to do the job of this simple tool, so get one and be grateful that someone invented it.
The lemon juice, this is the stuff you want. All that "work" for a few ounces of juice.
Ream the lemons over the strainer to catch the lemon seeds and pulp that also comes out of the lemon when it is being reamed. I have yet to run into anyone that likes a pulpy lemonade. Maybe you would be the first, so if you want some pulp, you now know where to get some. Mash the pulp through the strainer to get all the extra juice out and throw away the stuff in the strainer.
The Lemon pulp, its OK to throw this away.
Fill up your pitcher to just over a quart of water, add 1.5 cups of the simple syrup, which may still be a bit warm. (Feel free to prepare the syrup beforehand and store it in a squeeze bottle and store it in the fridge for those times when you may need it) Add one cup of your lemon juice and mix it. Take a taste and adjust your simple sugar/lemon juice ratio to make it sweeter or more tart.
This recipe should make under 2 quarts of lemonade. And you have some simple syrup and lemon zest left over to use for other recipes. Enjoy.
Lemon Zest, use it for all kinds of other recipes, or throw it away, I won't tell.