I have a subscription to Sunset Magazine (a magazine for living on the west coast) and my first issue was the August issue. They had a great spread about melons and different things to make with all of the different varieties (that's another post). There was a recipe for Summer Fizzies (yes I tried this too- recipe coming later) which are basically pureed melon, frozen into ice cubes and served with club soda. Even though these were super good and refreshing, they weren't sweet enough for me. I tried cantaloupe, watermelon and even mango. If you've ever tried it you know club soda doesn't have a lot of taste either, so we tried putting the ice in 7 Up soda. Mike and I were trying to think of other flavors and he suggested strawberry because they're sweet and have a recognizable taste. I happened to wonder out loud if instead of 7 Up, lemonade would be better? We were in total agreement that it would.
A couple days later I bought lemons and strawberries. Yes I bought lemons. You didn't really think I was going to use just-add-water lemonade did you? If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right - and Mike was in full support.
What You'll Need:
1 C Sugar
1 C Water
2 cartons of Strawberries
6 C Water
6 C Water
Start by getting your sous chef to juice all of the lemons. I don't know a whole lot about juicing because I never make fresh juice, but the manual juicer Mike's mom got us really helped. With all of the lemons, we got a little over a cup of juice.
While Mike was handling the manual labor, I made the simple syrup. I really recommend making a simple syrup for your lemonade instead of just adding sugar because it won't sink to the bottom the way granulated sugar will (I found this out when I was six), and you'll end up with a consistent sweetness. A simple syrup is really easy to make too, I promise. Over medium heat, add your one cup of water and your one cup of sugar. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves.
When it's done take it off the heat and start your strawberries for the puree. Make sure they are washed. If you can, use a spray instead of the stream on your sink faucet. You don't want them sitting in any extra water. If not, no big deal.
Cut the tops of your strawberries off and any nasty parts. I know they're getting pureed but that's not good eats. You should also cut them into quarters, they puree quicker if the pieces are smaller.
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar. This is optional though, there is already going to be a lot of sugar in this drink so you don't need to add more. Now, puree. Halfway through I always get a long spoon and stir what I'm pureeing to help it along. At this point add a 1/3 - 1/2 cup of water. Continue pureeing.
When it's done you'll have wonderfully pureed strawberries. With this the possibilities are endless! But for now, we put them in ice cube trays to freeze. Don't bother straining them. Mike had a problem with the seeds being there. I reminded him that he eats strawberries WITH the seeds all the time, and we moved on. Trust me, you won't even notice them. Mike agrees.
You should have about two to three cups of puree, depending on your strawberries and the amount of water you added. So you'll need two ice trays. Fill them up like you would with water and put them in the freezer. We went out after we put ours in the freezer so they were able to freeze for a few hours.
Now it's time to show the lemonade some love. Pour your pure lemon juice into a 2 quart pitcher and all of your simple syrup. Like I said, if you feel like this is too much sugar only add some at first. You can add more after you add some water depending on how sweet you want it (you can always add, you can never subtract). We used half of the syrup at first.
Add a cup of water at a time and taste so you can monitor the lemon-sugar ratio to what you want. We ended up using 6 cups of water and all of the simple syrup. If you don't like pulp, use a little strainer to take it out, it floats to the top so it'll be easy. Cover and put in the fridge to get cold.
|So worth the wait...|
A few hours later....
Get out a glass and and put several strawberry ice cubes in it. Fill the rest of the glass with lemonade.
After a little while of letting your cold drink sit the strawberry starts to dissolve into the lemonade. What you get is a magical mix of lemon and strawberry. The best part is that you get a whole pitcher and you know exactly what's in it. You can make as much of this as you want and it's a really refreshing way to spend your summer.