Lemonade makes a traditional summertime beverage that you can dress up for social gatherings or pour in your favorite mug and gulp down on a hot day. Having a gallon of lemonade in the refrigerator also comes in handy if you’re following a lemonade-based cleanse diet. Lemons come in various varieties, so usually, so you can find fresh ones year round in the supermarket or at your local farmer’s market.
Wash seven to 10 lemons in vegetable wash; you’ll need the skins to be clean to get the most flavor out of them. In a shallow pan, such as a cake pan, roll and press firmly on each lemon with the palm of your hand. This extracts the flavorful oils embedded in the skin, which makes for an extra tasty beverage. The lemons may burst open as you press on them, depending on how juicy they are, which is okay. After pressing out the oils, cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice into the pan by hand, by twisting a spoon in the lemon or with a hand-held citrus juice extractor.
Sweetening the Drink
Pour the fresh-squeezed lemon juice into a gallon-sized pitcher. Or, measure about 128 ounces of water — about 16 cups — into the pitcher or punch bowl that holds more than a gallon of liquid. If you don’t have a graduated measuring cup, fill an empty and very clean milk gallon with water and then transfer the water to the pitcher. Then add your diet sweetener of choice. Such sweeteners include, but are not limited to, saccharine, stevia and sucralose. Start conservatively — adding no more than a teaspoon of any sweetener at first — and taste the lemonade as you add more until it’s just right.
Chilling it Down
Fill up the pitcher or punch bowl with ice, if there’s room, to chill the lemonade quickly. Otherwise, fill your glasses with ice and pour the lemonade over it. For a social gathering, you may wish to dampen mason jars or glasses and put them in the freezer for a few minutes to chill them down before serving the lemonade.
Serving and Preserving
Prepare garnishes like thin slices of lemons, limes or oranges to set inside the pitcher or punch bowl, and in the serving glasses or on their rims. Set cinnamon sticks inside the glasses or float fresh herbs like mint and basil leaves on top to enhance the lemonade’s taste. To store the gallon of fresh-squeezed lemonade, cover the pitcher with plastic wrap or a lid if it has one — or transfer it to a clean milk gallon — and place it in the refrigerator. Aim to consume your lemonade sooner than later, but it won’t go bad if it takes you more than week to finish it.