Summer Quenchers: The Lemonade Variations

by Jessica Harper
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Lemonade22240I’ve got this Meyer lemon tree in my yard that is dripping with fruit. With a sudden burst of culinary energy (for some reason I’m channeling Rachael Ray) I am doing a lemon project this week, finally committed to using my harvest for something other than dog toys.

First, of course, I made lemonade. While I have often advised my kids (much to their irritation) to make lemonade out of lemons, I have rarely taken that advice myself, at least not literally. I had no idea how much sugar is in the stuff. No wonder it’s so addictive. Best rush since the Easter egg hunt.

I decided to make a couple of lemonade variations that would cut the sugar and add interest. Voila: Chamomile Arnold Palmers and Cucumber Mint Lemonade. Love that basic Meyer Lemonade, but if the sugar has you bouncing like a pinball, try one of its slightly less sweet cousins.

Meyer Lemonade

1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1/2 cup superfine sugar
4 cups water

Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a pitcher and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the water, mix well, and chill the lemonade until you’re ready to serve.

(4-6 servings)

Chamomile Arnold Palmers

4 chamomile tea bags
1 cup fresh mint leaves, lightly crushed
1/4 cup honey
Juice of 2 lemons
Ice
Lemon slices for serving

Place the tea bags and the mint in a pitcher and add 4 cups boiling water. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. Stir in the honey and lemon juice and refrigerate the tea for at least two hours or overnight.

Serve the tea over ice with lemon slices for garnish.

(4-6 servings.)

Cucumber Mint Lemonade

1 English cucumber
20 mint leaves
4 cups Meyer (or regular) lemonade (see recipe above)
Ice

Peel the cucumber. Slice it in half crosswise and then halve each half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a teaspoon. Cut the cucumber into chunks and place in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

Add the mint leaves to the cucumber and process until you have a puree.

For each serving, place ¼ cup of the cucumber mixture in a tall glass. Pour about a cup of lemonade on top of the cucumber. Add a couple ice cubes and serve.

(4 servings)

 

Jessica Harper is an actor/author who lives in Los Angeles and New York. Her latest book is "The Crabby Cook Cookbook," and she also blogs at http://www.jessicaharper.com and at http://www.thecrabbycook.com.

 

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