17 August 2007

Of sunny days and lemonade

One of summer's anticipated treats is lemonade. Clear skies, a nice cool corner, both kids down for their afternoon nap, all work done, a good book, and finally a tall glass of cool and sweet and tart lemonade. Ah bliss!

And wouldn't it be simply wonderful if one didn't have to make the lemonade from scratch each time? I am no fan of instant lemonade. Somehow, all those additives simply kill the 'real' taste of lemonade.

A series of incredibly hot days meant there was a constant demand for cool lemonade. And it was time to make a batch of my lemon squash. Isn't that a paradox? Lemon squash from someone who dislikes them? Well, try it my way, and then see if you can ever buy bottled lemon squash again.

This versatile lemon squash is a blessing to have around the house. It doesn't need refrigeration. Just store it in a cool dry place, in a tight container. And there's more to it than just lemonade. Add a generous dollop to cold tea, and you have instant ice-lemon tea. Stir into desserts, use as dessert topping, use your imagination!

And I swear this squash 'tastes' of sunshine. Maybe that's just in my mind, but I swear it does! It's one of the simplest thing I've ever tried to make. Squeeze lemons, strain, add sugar, transfer to metal container with a tight lid, and leave it in the sun for a couple of days till the sugar completely melts. Add salt and transfer to an airtight bottle. It's that simple!

I've been told that this squash lasts for as long as 6 months. I couldn't say for sure. The family finishes it up really fast, and the longest I've managed to store a batch is 2 months.

Super-simple Lemon Squash

Lemons (as many as you have energy to squeeze)
Sugar (about 1 kg for every 15 large lemons)
A large metal container with tight fitting lid
2 hot sunny days
Salt (optional)

Clean, dry and sterlized glass bottles

Oh yes, and patience too.

Squeeze lemons, and get as much juice as you can.
Strain juice. Discard seeds and pips.
Measure and transfer juice to metal container.
For every cup of juice, add 1.5 to 2 cups of sugar.
Stir well.
Leave the container in a place that gets a lot of sun.
Stir occasionally, and leave container in the sun until all sugar is completely dissolved.
Stir in salt if using. (Add 1 tbsp of salt for every 3-4 cups of lemon juice measured)
Transfer to storage bottles, and keep in a cool dry place.

I like my lemonade tart, so get all the juice out of the lemons. For a not so tart lemonade, don't squeeze too hard too close to the rind.
Usually, a cup-and-a-half of sugar per cup of lemon juice is what I use. If you like lemonade sweeter, you could go as high as 2 cups.
For a bitter lemon cordial, don't strain the lemon juice. Add sugar, and let it stand in the sun till it melts completely. Strain with a very fine sieve/strainer just before bottling. This is a great mixer with drinks.

For once, I have something ready on time (well in time) for a food blogging event. This is my entry for Meeta's Monthly Mingle for September, 'Liquid Dreams'.


TBC said...

I like your cute glass bottles, Vidya.
That is such a refreshing drink on a hot day.

bhags said...

Its flowinf lemondaes all over here....nice to have all these lemonade posts......I agree with TBC, that bottle is cute

Poonam said...

I am wondering why my lemonade never looks a little bit yellowish like yours?

Suganya said...

My mom is an expert in making squash, not me :d. You can send this to Meeta's Monthly Mingle!

Vidya said...

Thanks, TBC & Bhags.. I'm a sucker for 'cute' glass containers. you'd cry if you'd seen how many i had to dispose off before i came to Japan (space issues)

Poonam, this particular type of squash takes its color from the type of lemon. If i make a cordial without straining seeds and pips, the final color is different. the lemons in India gave me a paler squash.

Thanks Suganya... for once I have an entry ready on time for a food blogging event!

Meeta said...

Totally refreshing. Nothing like a cool glass of lemonade in the heat! Thanks for the entry!

Rachna said...

hi vidya... was so refreshing to see this recipe...was intrigues to see that its sun cooked, my mum makes this amazing lemonade... just like yurs except cooks it on the stove.... thank u for the recipe

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the lemon react with the metal container you mentioned the lemonade to be baked in?