There are many recipes that claim to be the ‘best ever lemonade’ or the ‘perfect lemonade’. I don’t make those claims for mine. It does, however, contain two magic ingredients that get my oven cleaned...How?
Well, I take my inspiration from the bit in Tom Sawyer where Tom gets the neighbourhood kids to happily whitewash Aunt Polly’s fence using a little reverse psychology. Ok, it’s more bribery than reverse psychology in this case but hey…
“Sigh,” I say to anyone within earshot...“What’s up, Hester?”they say
“Well,” I say, “I was thinking of making a jug of my special lemonade... you know ... the one that tastes like summer… the one with the magic ingredients… sigh”“Yes! Yes! Great idea!” they say.
“... but unfortunately, I won’t have time... because the oven really needs cleaning.”“Oh,” they say. “I’ll clean the oven, Hester; and you make the lemonade!”
“Really, you don’t have to...” I say, handing them the spray, the gauntlets, the sponge, the bucket, the protective goggles ...
Ok, it's time for me to get on with the lemonade to supply the thirsty worker(s). Salt and star anise are the magic ingredients. You won't taste them but they round out the flavour.
*BEFORE STARTING: How many lemons you use will depend on how juicy they are. I used 6 lemons for this batch. To get 25g of lemon zest for the recipe, I chose two with the most blemish-free skin, scrubbed them in hot water to remove any wax, then used a potato peeler to remove the yellow part of the zest, and further trimmed the strips of peel with a sharp knife to carefully remove any bitter white skin clinging to it. It is much easier to remove the zest BEFORE you squeeze out the juice.
|It's easier to remove the zest BEFORE you squeeze out the juice|
To make about 500ml of lemonade cordial (2-3 litres, diluted), you will need...
25g lemon zest (prepared weight) yellow part only*
250g caster sugar
250mls freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained to remove any pips or pulp
¼ teaspoon fine table salt
1 point of a whole star anise
|Take a moment to enjoy the gorgeous aromas|
Place the prepared lemon zest and the sugar in a food processor and blitz until the zest is finely chopped.
Place this mixture in a medium saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Cover and leave to cool. Strain to remove the piece of star anise and any bits of zest and transfer to a sterilised bottle or jar. Sealed, it stores in the fridge for up to a month.
Serve over ice, diluted with still or sparkling water to taste. Cheers!