I’ve come a long way from the days of squeezing limes into a tall pitcher of water, and stirring in sugar until it dissolves. And stirring and stirring and stirring…
Lemon/limeades were usually reserved for Ramadan in my household. That meant we whipped up batches of the stuff without being able to taste it (since we were fasting) and without sticking to any sort of recipe (my mother never owned a recipe book). The results ran the gamut from mouth puckeringly tart to gaggingly sweet.
That won’t happen with this recipe. I won’t forget the looks on my guests’ faces when they broke their fast with this drink earlier this summer. Their eyes widened as they could not believe the incredible reward their taste buds received after a long day without food or drink. This is an adaptation of a pretty straightforward Pioneer Woman recipe. I stuck to her proportions, but jazzed it up with some floral scented Meyer lemons, a simple syrup for easy dissolving, and ice for a quick cool down. I had never thought to puree strawberries in a food processor with sugar to get the strawberry part of a strawberry lemonade but it was so easy and so perfect. I think when you cook it down in a saucepan it has the tendency to thicken. This way it was perfectly smooth and pourable. If you don’t have Meyer lemons in your grocery store, please proceed with regular lemons! If you do have Meyer lemons handy, you won’t regret it. They have such an amazing bouquet – floral, sweet. I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but when you squeeze citrus, the essential oils mist up and out from the rind like a natural air freshener. When the oils of the Meyer lemons gets into the air, it perfumes the whole kitchen. Almost makes you want to take a bite out of it!
Summer’s not over as long as you’re making this drink! It HAS the power to keep summer going. Also, summer is not over until it’s my birthday. Seriously – last day of summer this year and I turn…twenty…I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Adapted from Pioneer Woman.
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled
- 3 cups sugar
- 8 to 10 Meyer lemons
- 9 cups water
- 2 heaping cups ice
- In a medium saucepan, dissolve 2 cups sugar with 2 cups of water and the peel of 1 Meyer lemon* over medium heat. Stir occasionally. When dissolved, remove from heat and let cool.
- Meanwhile, blend the strawberries in a food processor with 1 cup of sugar until well blended. Set aside.
- Using a citrus juicer, or by hand (over a sieve to catch seeds and pulp), juice 8 to 10 Meyer lemons until you have 2 cups of lemon juice. Set aside.
- Remove lemon peel from simple syrup. In a large pitcher or drink dispenser combine lemon scented simple syrup, strawberry puree, lemon juice, remaining 7 cups of water and 2 cups of ice. Stir to combine. Add more water/sugar to taste.
*When peeling, take care not to get too much of the white part (pith) as that will make the simple syrup bitter.