Traverse City Record-Eagle

Food

May 15, 2014

The secrets to a summer full of great lemonade

ELIZABETH KARMEL

the Associated Press

Homemade lemonade is an essential taste of summer. But concentrates and powders simply won’t suffice.

Luckily, great homemade lemonade is as easy as remembering a few numbers — 3-1-1-1. Three cups of cold water, 1 cup of lemon juice, 1 cup of sugar and 1 more cup of water to make the sugar syrup.

The sugar syrup — also called simple syrup — is the key to perfect homemade lemonade. As anyone who has tried to sweeten ice tea knows, sugar does not dissolve well in cold liquids. But simple syrup — a blend of (typically) equal parts sugar and water that was heated briefly to help the sugar dissolve — mixes beautifully into lemonade, ice tea or cocktails.

When shopping for lemons for lemonade, buy large lemons that feel heavy and are squeezable. I am sure that I am not the only one who has purchased lemons only to cut them and find that half the lemon is rind and there is very little juice. For that reason, I always buy a couple extra. If I think I can get 1 cup of juice from 6 lemons, I buy 8.

As soon as I bring them home, I soak the lemons in a solution of white vinegar and water to minimize any molding or rotting. Often, a bag of lemons with one slightly moldy lemon becomes a whole bag of rotten lemons overnight if you don’t do this. And you don’t have to stop at lemons; this is a great way to wash all fruits and vegetables.

Before you juice them, soak the lemons in warm water or microwave them for 10 seconds. The heat relaxes the juice pouches and makes it easier to extract the most juice from each lemon. Then, before you cut them in half, roll the lemons on the counter with your palm, exerting some pressure. This also helps get the juices flowing.

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