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It’s the old adage at play, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” so that’s exactly what I did!
Our lemon tree loves to bloom around January/February, and that seems to be the only time, so we have to take advantage of the fruits of its labor, literally. A few weeks ago I had picked the tree of about a third of the lemons and quickly started to give them away to family, friends, and neighbors. Even after all of the gifting, I was still left with more than I could use.
It being President’s Day weekend and all didn’t really factor into anything that happened over the weekend. Oddly enough, I think my husband and I totally forgot about the holiday – he works today (Monday) and I usually have Mondays off anyway (so I still have 5 work days left).
Regardless, when we were at Ralph’s, he saw a pork shoulder on sale and told me that Sunday felt like the perfect day to roast the pork shoulder and sit outside, drinking beer. I said “Let’s do it!”
It ended up that tons of family came over, but that’s for another post. Since we knew people were going to be joining us, I decided to put these beautiful lemons to good use, instead of rotting in the fruit stand on the kitchen counter, and make real, honest-to-goodness, homemade lemonade. I searched the internet for a few different versions and ended up making one that tasted just like we like it – a little tart, but with enough sweetness that you can enjoy a nice cold glass of it.
Just a note: Because we had tons and tons of lemons, I just juiced them all and have frozen the leftover juice for use at a later day, like when our tree has decided to stop giving us lemons, but we still want lemonade. Therefore, I do not know how many lemons I juiced to get what I needed for the lemonade, but I’m sure a pretty fair average would be around 6-10.
So here it is:
1 cup water + 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup lemon juice
3 cups cold water
Make a simple syrup using the 1 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar. Place the water and sugar into a saucepan and heat up until the sugar is dissolved and it is a clear golden syrup. Let this cool.
*I made a double batch and then just split the difference when I made my lemonade. I did this because my pitchers weren’t big enough to accommodate a double recipe of the lemonade and it worked out so that each batch never got too warm sitting out. I suggest making at least a double batch so that if you prefer your lemonade with more sweetness, you have the syrup ready.
This is one of the keys to a delicious lemonade. It solves the problem of all of the sugar sitting at the bottom of the pitcher and having to constantly stir it so that everything stays mixed.
Juice your lemons!
I had the fortunate opportunity to acquire my sister-in-law’s Oster electric juicer. She had been trying to get rid of it and saw a sucker in me, I’m pretty sure that’s the truth of it anyway. Gladly, I accepted the gift and boy what a shining example of “another (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure.” This things is one of the best hand-me-downs I’ve ever received.
It helped me go from all these lemons…
To this juice…
In order to make the lemonade smooth and easily drinkable, I used my strainer to strain the juice. Even with a juicer, there is still residual pulp. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I love me some pulp. My husband and I buy the Extra Pulp orange juice and we even make our own without straining it, but in my lemonade, I like it pulp-free.
I placed my strainer over a bowl to catch the pulp-free juice.
Then I put my juice into my lovely Ball jars.
Now it’s time to make the lemonade.
In a pitcher of your choosing, place 1 1/3 cup lemon juice, your simple syrup (either the whole single batch recipe or half of a double batch), and add 3 cups of cool/cold water. Stir gently and refrigerate.
To serve, place ice in a cup, add your homemade lemonade, and ENJOY!
*Note: I don’t like to add ice to the pitcher because if the ice melts, it waters down the lemonade, taking the fresh flavors away, so ice is best added to the drinking glass and lemonade added to that.
On my Monday off, I found myself enjoying another glass of my lemonade next to my lemon tree, basking in the warmth of the sun. I hope your Monday and soon-to-come summer days are filled with lots of Honest-To-Goodness Lemonade.