If you need some cheering up, there's nothing healthier, cheaper and better-tasting than a glass of home-made lemonade. These days, lemonades have been repurposed and enhanced with all sorts of herbs and fresh fruit and vegetable flavors. Cold or hot, straight or alcohol-laced, Lemonade offers something for every body.
Tough times like these, some times bring out the very worst in people and circumstances. That's to be expected when so many people are scrambling to make a buck. Still, there's no reason to dwell on the things that haven't turned out so well. You know that old saying, "If life hands you ..." well, go ahead, make lemonade.
Lemonade, made with real lemons, is a healthy, inexpensive alternative to sodas. Citrus fruits, like lemons, offer lots of healt benefits - among them, they can lower your cholesterol and enhance your immune system. Besides Vitamin C, lemons also are a source of potassium and folic acid. Some people say drinking hot lemonade can be a good, but brief, weight-loss diet. Lemons also are kitchen helpers. Lemon juice prevents discoloring of peeled fruits and vegetables. Depending on how much juice you add, lemon offers a tangy taste, for you and your fruits and veggies.
You might be surprised to learn that lemon beverages, including lemonade, have an ancient history, spanning back to ancient Egypt, or perhaps even before. When traveling to Italy or Greece, you might seek out Mapole lemonade, according to food writers in "The Perfect Egg", Mapole Lemonade has "an exquisitely natural flavour." The name is made up of the initial letters of mandarins, pomerance (a European fruit) and, of course, lemons. The writers say it's difficult to bottle lemonade and keep the taste.
Closer to home in the U.S.A., (longstanding home of our childhood's lemonade stand), you can try some of the exquisite lemonades offered by the growing chain of L.A.-based Restaurants, Lemonade. They offer updated, repurposed Lemonade, now an upscale beverage, thanks to their combination of fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables and spices. These enhanced beverages include hibiscus, watermelon rosemary, blueberry mint, cucumber mint, blood-orange, peach ginger, kiwi, strawberry and more. Lemonade Restaurant's popular lemonades now are elevated to their own specialty category, priced at around $3 per glass.
If fresh lemonade made in your kitchen is more to your liking and your wallet, you can find an old-fashioned lemonade version in this 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook's recipe. Betty Crocker calls this recipe "as American as circus day...saves lemons, gives flavor." Here it is:
Combine in saucepan: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, rind of 2 lemons, cut into pieces. Stir over low heat, until sugar dissolves. Boil about 7 minutes. Cool.
Add 1 cup lemon juice (5 or 6 lemons and 4 cups of ice water.
Pour over ice in pitcher (preferably a vintage glass pitchers) or tall glasses (especially nice, those 1950s glass versions with fruit decals or gold graphics). Betty Crocker suggests you also can put a few bruised mint leaves in the bottom of the glass, before pouring the mixture in. For pink lemonade, add a bit of grenadine syrup.
There are other ways to serve lemonade to suit most anyone's taste and creativity. These varieties include The Arnold Palmer (lemonade and iced tea) and The Bullfrog, 7th Inning Stretch and Absolute Lemonade, alcoholic cocktails made with lemonade.(You can find some 190+ recipes of alcoholic lemonade at BarNone.com). Some people, meanwhile, like warm/hot lemonade. Warm lemonade (sometimes with honey) has long been a remedy for sore throats. Livestrong.com presents "The Hot Lemonade Diet"...Among other benefits, the diet flushes toxins from your body. According to Home Remedies and Cures, hot lemonade also can eliminate bad breath. A hot lemonade mouth wash fights bacteria and loosen food debris. Livestrong.com says a Hot Lemonade Diet also contributes to healthier skin. Vanderbilt University reports that the vitamin C from lemons helps rejuvenate your skin, naturally. And who's not for that?
If you're frustrated or even burned out, it is not be too early to think about your next glass of lemonade, cold or hot. No matter how you drink it, this healthy beverage can wash away the bummers and the boo-hoos, and remind you, through its pleasant yellow color, sunny days are just ahead.