I don't know about you, but where I am, it's unseasonably HOT – and somehow lemonade is so absolutely refreshing in the heat. The kids and I take a break from school to sip homemade lemonade on the porch and somehow all seems well. 😉
However, I like to have lemonade on hand for quick pouring – I don't always want to mix it up on demand. But I can't stock my refrigerator with gallons of lemonade, either. Neither space nor freshness will allow it!
Thus, I make this homemade lemonade concentrate, which I keep in the freezer but which can be canned in a water bath if you prefer. Now you've got a ready-to-mix lemonade just like the kind you can buy in the store but without high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. Just dump, stir, and go. Yay for a super-fresh summer!
For the concentrate
- 8 cups water
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups honey or unrefined cane sugar
- 12 lemons
To mix the lemonade
- per 1 pint lemonade concentrate
- use 1 1/4 cup of water
To Prepare the Concentrate
- First, scrub the lemons, then peel them using a vegetable peeler so as to get as little pith as possible attached to the peels. Place the peels in a large bowl (you can use only half, if desired).
- Place the water and honey in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring just to a boil, then pour the hot mixture over the peels and let sit until cooled, 30-45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, juice the lemons and pour the juice through a sieve to remove any seeds or large pieces of pulp. Place juice in a large bowl or jar that's easy to pour from. Set aside, then prepare freezer containers for the concentrate.
- A Note About Containers: I find leftover pint-sized sour cream containers or pint-sized Weck jars work very well for this purpose, but you can use anything that's freezer-safe and pint-sized. I prefer not to use Mason jars in the freezer, merely because of the curved top you have to thaw them completely before using them. With straight-sided Weck jars, you just have to loosen them before plopping them in your pitcher to mix. That said, mason jars are a great option if you want to can them in a water bath!)
- When the honey mixture is cool, remove the peels. Pour the sweetened liquid over the lemon juice and stir well.
- Pour into prepared containers and freeze until solid.
- (If using glass, BE SURE to leave at least an inch at the top to allow for expansion. Otherwise, you'll likely be dealing with broken glass in your freezer... )
To Mix the Lemonade
- To prepare lemonade using homemade lemonade concentrate, stir together 1 pint of concentrate and 1 1/4 water (use more or less as desired).
- Stir in raspberries, rosemary, mango, or other add-ins as desired.
What's your favorite summer drink?