One of my favorite beverages of summer is lemonade. As a kid, I couldn't wait until Memorial Day weekend when I knew my mom would purchase that first can of frozen concentrate. See, there was this unspoken rule in our home. Lemonade was only for the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
We were only allowed to wear white shoes during that time too, but it didn't really matter. By the end of summer, our white shoes were trashed, so mom would buy us colored tenny's for p.e., just in case we decided to stomp through some puddles on the way. The following May, she'd march right down to Montgomery Wards or Sears and buy us another pair of white shoes.
Some people just don't learn.
As an avid reader, I can't help myself from reading every single label in my grocery cart. (It's a wonder that my Mister ever goes into the grocery store with me.) Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my favorite lemonade had high-fructose corn syrup in it!
As the first ingredient.
I don't know about you, but trading health for convenience is not a habit I want to have, so I did what was done in "the olden days". I squeezed some lemons myself. Then I added some sugar.
Then I sort of gagged a little.
Water should always be added to lemon juice and sugar.
Especially if you want to drink it, not eat it with a fork.
Since my first experiments with the lemonade, I've learned a few things. First, leave the lemons on the counter for a while before juicing. It makes the juicing process a whole lot easier. Second, by adding whey and allowing the lemonade to ferment for a couple of days, the health benefits increase. Now you are drinking a lacto-fermented beverage and your tummy will thank you. Third, once you try this lemonade, drinking the swill from the frozen juice aisle will just seem barbaric.
And unless your name is Conan, you want to avoid barbaric.
10-12 organic lemons*
1/2-1 cup organic sugar
1 cup organic liquid whey (from draining yogurt)
1 gallon jar with lid
Wash the lemons. Cut lemons in half and use a hand-held juicer to squeeze juice into bowl. Pour lemon juice into gallon jar. I like pulp in my juice, so I pour the juice through a fine stainless sieve, before picking out the seeds and adding the pulp back into the juice.
Add sugar. I only use 1/2 cup and it's sweet enough for me. You can use sucanat if you want, but it will make the lemonade a darker color. I've heard of people using honey, but I haven't tried that...yet.☺
Add whey to the jar. Making whey is very simple. Go here for instructions. (After making this, bake some zucchini or banana bread and use your new yummy cream cheese! So good!)
Add filtered water to fill the remainder of the jar. Screw the lid down tight and set on the back of the counter for 2-5 days. When you see little bubbles, it's ready. Refrigerate to stop the fermenting process. Serve over ice.
*Before cutting the lemons, zest them, then place on a dehydrator at the lowest setting and dry overnight. Store zest in jar and use in baked goods, or in a favorite herbal tea.