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Monday, April 28, 2008

It's 90 Degrees in the Shade But a Tall Glass of Ice Cold Lemonade Lowers the Temperature

It's hot. Really hot. But Nature is good to us. When the temperature climbs there's an abundance of produce to help cool us down. Salads. Fresh fruit. And lemonade. At the Palisades Farmers' Market on Sunday the roses were in bloom, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) were everywhere, and Meyer lemons were selling 5 for a dollar. At that price we can afford to have as much fresh lemonade as we can drink. I don't know anything more refreshing on a hot day than an ice cold glass of lemonade.

A little bit of lemon juice goes a long way. When lemons are in season, it's difficult to understand why we'd ever buy lemonade from the supermarket. If Meyer lemons are available, they make a mellow-tasting lemonade. Artificial sweeteners can be used to replace the sugar. Personally I prefer using raw sugar because of its caramel flavor.

Fresh Lemonade

Making lemonade is easy. The hardest part is juicing the lemons and that takes very little effort. An electric juicer can be used although I enjoy doing it by hand.

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 large lemons)
1/4 cup sugar (preferably raw sugar)
1 quart water

In a quart pitcher mix the juice, sugar, and water together with a long spoon. Adjust the flavors to your taste by adding more lemon juice and/or sugar. The lemonade will keep in the refrigerator for several days. Stir before serving. Find a tall glass and fill it with ice. For a garnish you can use a lemon wedge, a sprig of mint, or a slice of mango.

Variations

Crush an herb like mint or rosemary and add it to the lemonade.

Mix in the juice of 2 limes to make lemon-limeade.

Add 1 1/2 ounces of white rum or vodka to each tall glass with a sprig of mint to serve at a cocktail party.

Serves 4. Preparation Time: 5 minutes.

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