Got lemons! Make lemonade and more...

Spring is finally here! The temperatures are warmer and cool drinks are in order specially since I am avoiding turning on the air-conditioning. We need to conserve some electricity after a looong spell of running the heating. The king of hot weather drinks here is the lemonade.
There have been times when we used to buy bottles of lemonade from the store but not any more. The store-bought lemonade does not taste that good and has lots of unwanted chemical ingredients. And when it is so easy to make, who needs storebought anyway? If I haven't managed to convince you yet, it is very cost effective. How cost effective, you ask?

Lets see :
Storebought bottle of lemonade costs 2.6$ for 2 litres (67.6 oz)
Homemade lemonade :
A bag of lemons is also about 2.6$
sugar costs about 3$
This amount gives me 20 cups (160 oz) of lemonade
So, cost for 2 litres of homemade lemonade comes to around 1.2 $

Saving : 1.4 $ per 2L bottle of lemonade

Enough with the maths, lets get on to what really matters. So you got a huge bag of lemons from the store on sale. Before they get all wrinkly on you, zest them and juice them. Store the zest plastic wrapped in a zip-top bag in the freezer for at-most 2 weeks. The zest is a wonderful thing. It packs so much lemony flavor. Use it to make some lemony muffins or cookies or a lemony whipped cream. So many options but we will get to it later.
Lets deal with the juice first.

Lemonade concentrate

Making a lemonade concentrate is a smart idea. It keeps unrefrigerated for almost a year. This method (its more of a method than a recipe) comes from my mom. She has a lemon tree growing in her yard and has the skills of preserving lemons :)

Lemonade Concentrate

1 cup lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
  • Pour the sugar and water in a saucepan. The water should be just enough to cover the sugar. 
  • Heat the syrup till you get a one string or soft ball consistency *check notes below
  • Take the syrup off the heat, mix in the lemon juice and the concentrate is ready to be stored in a nice glass bottle when cooled.
This makes 20 cups of lemonade

To check for one string consistency, take a drop of syrup between your thumb and index finger. If it forms a good single string when the index finger is pulled away from the thumb then you have the one string consistency. 
A much easier way to check this is to use a candy thermometer. When the syrup registers 235 F or the softball mark on the candy thermometer, the syrup is ready.

The Lemonade

Prepared lemonade can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. So a chilled glass of a refreshing drink is ready in less than a moments notice. Now doesn't this rival the "I want it right now" convenience of the bottled store-bought version.


2/3 cup lemonade concentrate
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin pwd *see notes below

Mix everything together and store in that old lemonade bottle in the fridge :) Just shake the bottle before pouring out a drink.

The cumin powder can be replaced with the same amount of cardamom powder, rose water or any other flavoring. It can also be omitted. But I like the version with cumin powder the best. 

Lemon digestive drink

This recipe is again from my mother. I have been taking a teaspoon of this with half a glass of water in the morning. I think its a good thing if you can overcome the slight smell of asafoetida.

lemon digestive drink

3/4 cup lemon juice
a pinch of asafoetida/hing
juice from 2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger *see notes below

Mix all the ingredients together and store in the fridge for several weeks. Mix 1 teaspoon of the juice with half a glass of water and drink to keep the digestive system in good shape.

Squeeze grated ginger to extract the juice. The amount of the ginger juice can be adjusted as per taste.


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