There are some homemade items that just can't be beat. Jam, cookies, applesauce, and guacamole are a few items that come to mind, when I consider what is worth whipping up from scratch, compared to opening up a package. I'm not talking about saving money. I'm talking about the difference between an explosion of flavor compared to a vague suggestion of what something is supposed to taste like.
One additional item that is totally worth the effort to make from scratch? Lemonade. It's so simple, you'll kick yourself for ever having used that powdered stuff. Here are a few options to try:
Sparkling Lemonade Infused with Ginger or Rosemary
Create a simple syrup by bringing ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, and a sprig of fresh rosemary or a small piece of peeled fresh ginger root to a boil. Boil over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, cool, and strain. Mix ½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice into the syrup. To serve, pour syrup into ice-filled glasses and add sparkling water. Mix according to your taste, and store any unused syrup in the refrigerator.
Old Fashioned Lemonade
Combine 8 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan, and boil over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Cool mixture, then add 1½ cups of fresh lemon juice. Include the pulp that has collected on your juicer, as well, after picking out any seeds. Serve over ice, garnished with a sprig of mint.
Bring 3 cups sugar and 12 cups of water to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat. Add the zest of six lemons. (Be sure to grate just the yellow part—the white pith is bitter.) While the mixture cools, juice the lemons. Puree 8 cups of strawberries (fresh or thawed) in a blender. Add strawberries and lemon juice to the mixture. Pour through a strainer and refrigerate. Serve over ice.
Some tips for getting the most juice out of your lemons:
- Before cutting lemons in half, roll them on the counter, pressing hard with your hand.
- Microwave each lemon for ten seconds before you cut and juice it.
- Cut the lemon lengthwise instead of across.
Written by Jennifer Reynolds, West Michigan Woman staff writer, who can be found on her deck, enjoying the fruits of summer, most days.