Pucker up, sweetie: August 20 is National Lemonade Day!
It’s also National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, but boy, are we all pied out. And there are still more to come. (Incidentally, if that seems like an unusual pie flavor to you, we thought so, too. A little over a week ago we were at the Bite of Oregon festival in Portland, and stumbled upon a chocolate pecan pie that we ended up trying, without even being aware that this holiday was coming up. It was very good).
I’ve always had a soft spot for lemonade. I think this is because I’m not a big fan of soda, rarely drinking it (and when I do, it often contains alcohol). Lemonade is a tasty, refreshing alternative, especially on warm summer afternoons.
Lemonade is a sweetened beverage made with lemons, sugar, and water. It dates back to at least the 10th century, when Egyptians were making quite a profit selling the juice from lemons, which flourished in the region. Locals enjoyed the beverage mixed with lots of sugar. We know this thanks to Nasir-i-Khusraw, a Persian poet and traveler who wrote an extensive treatise on life in Egypt during this time. A typical excerpt read, “Woke up. Worshipped a cat. Drank lots of lemonade. Dinner with daddy and mummy. Bed time.” When told that too much of the sweetened concoction could cause tooth decay, Egyptians said, “no – you’re wrong.” Those folks were in de-Nile.
(Longest set-up to a punch line ever).
Actually, drinking lemonade can be healthy. Studies show that consuming 4 oz. of lemon juice mixed with two liters of water every day can help prevent kidney stones. On the downside, this may put you in a sour mood.
I’m here all week, folks.
There are numerous flavor combinations of lemonade, found throughout the world. Pink lemonade, made with the addition of grenadine syrup, is particularly popular. Almost any fresh, seasonal fruit can be mixed with lemons to form a tasty variation on the classic; popular additions include strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. In the U.K., lemonade is typically carbonated, and similar to lemon-lime sodas such as Sprite or 7-Up. In Ireland, lemonade is available in three varieties: red, brown, and white. And in France, American-style lemonade is called “citronade.”
To celebrate, we made a pitcher of lemonade from a basic recipe:
- 6 medium lemons (about 1 cup of juice)
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
Juice the lemons with a juicer or by hand. Rolling them on the counter with moderate pressure prior to juicing will result in more juice from each lemon. Try to keep out the seeds. If you prefer lemonade with no pulp, strain the juice to remove it. Dissolve the sugar in the water (heat may be helpful). Combine the juice with the sugar water in a pitcher and stir well. Chill or serve over ice cubes.
I’m happy to report, this seems to be the perfect ratio; Tara and I met up at home for lunch, and enjoyed some fresh lemonade. It was about a thousand times better than concentrate, too!