Homemade lemonade is very easy to make, and it tastes much better than the store-bought varieties. It's a classic summer refreshment; try making your own!
The key to making perfect homemade lemonade is to start with sugar syrup, instead of mixing lemon juice, sugar, and water in one step. Here's how to make lemonade:
- 8 to 10 lemons
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
Prepare the lemons: Use lemons that are at room temperature or slightly warmer, which will make them easier to squeeze. You can run them under warm water, or microwave them for a few seconds. You'll need about 8 to 10 medium size lemons to make 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice, which is enough for a pitcher. Before you squeeze them, roll them on a counter or tabletop with the palm of your hand. This will soften the flesh of the lemon, making it easier to squeeze the juice.
Juice the lemons: Cut the lemons in half - you can use a juicer or a reamer for this task. Place half of the lemon on the reamer, applying pressure and twisting the lemon. You can also squeeze them by hand, but this will not work as well and you will get less juice from your lemons. Once you're done, remove the seeds from the juice. You can add the pulp at the bottom of the juice, or leave it out if you prefer pulp-free lemonade. You can even strain the juice to remove even more pulp.
Make lemon syrup: This is the true step in making old fashioned lemonade -- making the syrup. In a saucepan, boil a cup of water, and then add a cup and a half of sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has finished dissolving into the water. Then remove from the heat and, before it cools, add about a cup and a half of fresh lemon juice. This will turn into a concentrated lemon syrup mixture. You may want to save out a little of your lemon juice to adjust the flavor of your finished lemonade. Store this lemon syrup mixture in the refrigerator to cool it down.
Make lemonade. Once the lemon syrup has cooled in the refrigerator, add the syrup to 4 and a half cups of water. This will make a pitcher full of fresh lemonade! Taste it, and add more sugar if it's too tart or more water if it's too strong. If you still have lemon juice left, you can add this if the lemonade is too sweet. If you don't want to make a full pitcher at once, you can also keep the lemon syrup separate until you're ready to drink the lemonade, and then combine a spoon of syrup with some water.
Storing and serving: After you have followed this recipe for perfect lemonade, you will need to refrigerate the lemonade, and then serve chilled over ice. Freeze some of the lemonade to use as ice cubes, so that the melting ice doesn't dilute the flavor. You can garnish with lemon slices, a mint sprig, or a maraschino cherry. Now that you know how to make basic lemonade, you can experiment with variations. For limeade, use a cup of fresh lime juice (which takes about 8 limes) instead of lemon juice. For pink lemonade, use a few drops of food coloring, a cup of cranberry juice, or 2 teaspoons of grenadine.
As you will see, this is the recipe for perfect lemonade and any of your guests will enjoy it -- some will even want to learn how to make this delicious and refreshing beverage themselves.
Lemonade makes a great addition to a barbecue or picnic, especially when made with this recipe. You can also keep a pitcher of lemonade on hand in your refrigerator to serve at any time for quenching deep thirsts. Enjoy!