Sunday, June 29, 2014

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

The county where I grew up in Ohio hosted the largest county fair in the state. It was as big or bigger than most state fairs, with a ton of livestock, vendors, rides, and amazing fair food. There were these little lemonade booths all over the fair that always had lines of people waiting to get a cup. For me, it was always my first stop when I arrived at the fair. In high school, a lot of my friends worked at these lemonade stands and I often hung out with them helping to portion the lemons and shake the lemonades. It smelled so good in those booths, and the lemonade was sooooo good and refreshing. Little chunks of lemon mixed with sweet sugar water - I could pass on all the other fair food to have one cup of that lemonade. It was that good.

The boys are big fans as well. The other night, we went out for dinner, and before the server could introduce herself, Lex said, "I'll have a lemonade with strawberries in it, please." It was pretty cute. He finished off 3 cups by the end of the meal.

All that said, you just can't find that fair kind of lemonade in the juice aisle at the grocery store.  That taste only comes from squeezing the juice right from the fruit itself. And as it turns out, it's actually pretty easy!

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

8-10 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 cups of water, divided


1.) Zest 4 of the lemons
2.) Squeeze the juice from the lemons
3.) Heat 2 cups of water over low-medium heat and stir in the zest and lemon juice. It doesn't need to reach boiling - just enough to dissolve the sugar. This is your simple syrup.
4.) This step is optional. If you don't like little floaty things in your drink, then strain the heated mixture so the zest doesn't make it into the final mixture. Personally, I like the chunks. I think it makes it taste fresh and it also makes me think of that fair lemonade I love so much. Your call. 
4.) Pour the remaining 6 cups of water into a pitcher or large glass jar
5.) Add the simple syrup mixture to the water and stir well.
6.) Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 I hope you enjoy a cup of freshly squeezed lemonade!

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