Fresh Lemonade

15 Jul

You know it’s truly Summer here in SoCal when I get in my car to leave work in the Valley at the end of the day and my car thermometer says “108”.  Then, as I drive down the 405 freeway over the hill towards home, it never fails to amaze me as I watch my thermometer tick down 30 degrees or more until it says “71” or so by the time I’m home in Beach-town.  What I wouldn’t give for an ice cold pitcher of lemonade while I’m at the office!  My friends scoffed at me using a recipe for lemonade (“It’s just water and lemons and sugar!”) but this recipe definitely includes a few key steps to making lemonade the best it can be.

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks of all time: The Little House Cookbook.  If you are, or were ever, a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prarie series and you love cooking food or just reading about it, go find this book!  Part cookbook, part food history, part excerpts from the series, it’s held a cherished place on my bookshelf for as long as I can remember and sometimes I pull it down just to read for fun because, naturally, all of my favorite parts of that series had to do with food.

Fresh Lemonade
Recipe from The Little House Cookbook

  • 5 large lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Ice
  1. If you’re lucky enough to have lemons picked straight off a tree into your kitchen, just give them a good scrub down.  If you’ve bought supermarket lemons (no shame in that!), boil a pot of hot water, put the lemons in a bowl and pour the water over the lemons so they are covered.  Let stand for a few minutes.  This will do two things for your lemons: melt off the wax that the grocery store put on them to make them shiny and it will make them juicier.  No lie, I have NO idea how it makes them juicier, but I can say that it certainly does, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  After a few minutes, pull each lemon out, drying it by rolling it in a towel on your counter, pressing as you do it, to release more juice.
  2. Slice the lemons into thin slices–as thin as you can go without making yourself crazy, about 1/4″.  Try to use a cutting board that will catch the lemon juice so you can just pour it in to the bowl instead of losing all that deliciousness.
  3. In a large bowl or baking dish, arrange a layer of lemon slices, liberally pour sugar over the layer, then add another layer of lemon slices and repeat until all lemons and sugar are used up.  Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes (the time will go quickly, I promise!).
  4. Using a wooden spoon or wooden spatula, press down on the lemons as best you can without pulverizing the slices, so your lemonade isn’t full of pulp.
  5. Pour contents of bowl into a pitcher and fill pitcher with cold water.

Served over ice, it doesn’t get more refreshing than this!  Of course, you can tailor the recipe to be more more or less sweet or tart by adjusting the amount of sugar used.  Drink up!

One Response to “Fresh Lemonade”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mint Cantaloupe Aguas Frescas « A Gilt Nutmeg - September 23, 2011

    […] cups lemonade (click here for my favorite […]

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