There is something about lemonade that screams summer— the simple, fun, carefree days of summer. Even though some lemons are technically a winter fruit, my Eureka lemons are on my tree year round.
The beauty of having citrus in your own yard is that I can pick lemons as needed; commercial farmers harvest all at once, making the citrus seasonal. No idea if this has been scientifically proven or not, but I have found that I can pick one or two at a time, and the trees continue to produce fruit to replace what has been picked. This means I get a continual supply of fruit, freshly squeezed juice and lemonade all year. Make sure you pick any brown fruit and discard it – sometimes fruit left on the tree gets over ripe and that’s no bueno.
Here’s my basic recipe–it’s great with a few springs of fresh mint thrown in, too.
1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 4-6 lemons), plus more for garnish
4 cups cold water (to dilute)
Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.
While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract one cup of juice from lemons.
Fill a pitcher about 1/3 full of ice and add the juice and the simple syrup (first, make sure it cools to room temperature) to the pitcher. Add 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. If the lemonade is a little too sweet for your taste, add more straight lemon juice to it.
Serve over ice with additional sliced lemons.
Note: If you want to put your citrus peels in the compost, just cut them up into smaller pieces because they tend to take longer to break down.
Live in Santa Barbara, but don’t have your own citrus trees? Tri County Produce makes the best, and freshest lemonade I’ve tried.