A few weekends ago, while we were visiting family in Virginia, we stopped at Wendy’s for lunch. One of their featured drinks in the summer is lemonade. This gave me an idea.
I wanted to make my own homemade, freshly squeezed lemonade. And while I’m at it, I’d like to make berry lemonade too! (Since I’ve been experimenting with fruit-infused tea, I thought it may work out!)
I’m generally not a huge lemonade fan, but once in a while, I like to enjoy a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day. I am partial to making my own freshly squeezed lemonade so that I know what ingredients and how much sugar go into the drink.
The tricky part of this whole ordeal was figuring out how much lemon juice and sugar to put into a quart of lemonade. I thought about how much sugar I use to sweeten a quart of tea, and decided to start there.
Determining how much lemon juice I needed was a little more difficult. I researched a whole bunch of lemonade recipes to see how much lemon juice I would need to squeeze.
There are many variations of lemonade recipes out there! I had no idea!! Some don’t heat the sugar, some make simple syrup and add lemon juice, some even boil the lemon zest in the simple syrup!
But the thing that almost all of them had in common was that they used 2 cups of lemon juice to a gallon of water.
I like to make my beverages in quart mason jars. That gives my husband and I just enough to drink for a few meals without it going bad. So, I just divided those two cups evenly between 4 quarts.
Before you decide to make lemonade, I would advise investing in some form of lemon juicer…or prepare for a grip strength workout! I ended up juicing 5 lemons by hand. I had a huge mess and my hands were worn out by the time I was finished!
But I persevered! The thought of cold, delicious lemonade kept me going!
I placed a fine-mesh strainer over a 2-cup measuring cup to catch all of the unwanted seeds and pulp. (And any other goop, for that matter!)
Once I had one cup of lemon juice, I poured it into a saucepan, added 1/2 cup sugar, and heated and stirred until the sugar was dissolved completely.
I allowed the lemon juice concentrate to cool a bit, then divided the juice evenly between 2 quart mason jars.
Since there wasn’t much juice in the bottom of each jar (a little over 1/2 cup) it didn’t take long to cool. To one jar, I simply added water until the jar was filled.
The other jar was designated to be strawberry lemonade. I added 1 1/2 cups of frozen strawberries to the lemon juice and then filled the jar the rest of the way with water.
The plain lemonade was ready to drink immediately. It had a strong lemon flavor with a hint of sweetness, which was my goal. If you want to try this recipe and like sweeter lemonade, simply add more sugar while heating the lemon juice.
I allowed the strawberries to soak in the lemonade jar for about a day. The lemonade turned a beautiful shade of pink! I removed the strawberries and discarded them.
My husband absolutely loved the strawberry lemonade while I was partial to the traditional lemonade. It’s just a matter of preference!
So, I’ve added another drink to my refreshing summer repertoire! (I’m actually finishing up a batch of lemonade now!) What are some of your favorite summer drinks? Do you make your own lemonade? If you are a fan of lemonade and fruity lemonades, give this recipe a try! You won’t be disappointed!
Feel free to post pictures of your lemonade on social media using @ruralhighness!