Saturday, May 29, 2010

Best Strawberry Lemonade Ever

For some reason, inspired by the warm weather and the long stretch of weekend ahead of me, I decided fresh squeezed lemonade was just the thing to make as a treat for Phu's moving day.

I had never made lemonade from scratch before and it was pretty much as simple as you would think for a recipe that only has three ingredients (plus one that I added).  However, there were a few tricks I picked up courtesy of the comments section on Allrecipes.

1 3/4 cup white sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups lemon juice (I used six lemons)

First tip is to soak the lemons in hot water for ten minutes to help soften them up. Once you are ready to start squeezing, be sure to roll them on a countertop to prepare them for juicing.
The other tip is to create a simple syrup with the sugar and one cup of the water.  Combine both ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to make sure all the sugar dissolves.  Creating the syrup rather than adding the sugar directly to the lemonade ensures that there is no grittiness from lingering sugar granules. Cool the syrup to room temperature before adding to your lemonade mixture (mine was sufficiently cool at 30 minutes).

Next, let the juicing commence. I used a simple $1 hand juicer that I had picked up at Ikea. After squeezing the lemon simply with my fist to get all the juice out, I followed that up with hand juicer to ensure I got every bit of juice and pulp from the lemons:
It was a tad bit messy but it certainly did the trick, and it actually didn't take too long:
This was the amount of lemon juice that I got from six lemons, minus one half that I used to create decorative lemon slices:
On a last minute whim, I sliced half a pint of strawberries, muddled them, and threw them into the lemonade jug to create strawberry lemonade:
A few hours later, the flavors had a chance to soak in and the ice cubes I added kept it nice and chilled. Truly a recipe that lived up to its name!


Jen said...

Yum this looks great! I'm going to have to make it.

bcallegra said...

I highly recommend it! Two tips I forgot to mention: smell the lemons to figure out the best ones for juicing (they should give off a faint lemon scent without scratching the peel) and two) make sure to mascerate the strawberries in some sugar for at least five minutes to help draw out the juice. Enjoy!