Monday, January 21, 2013

Easy Pink Lemonade

My favorite time of year in Southern California is Winter. The days are warm enough for lemonade, and the nights are cool enough for a hot cup of tea. 

And....CITRUS IS IN SEASON. I am so, so lucky to live somewhere where local, seasonal produce is readily available. Even better - the local seasonal produce is so varied that even when heirloom tomatoes and peaches and the bounties of summer can't be found, I can replace them with succulent grapes, more kinds of kale then I've ever seen, squashes galore - and, of course, LEMONS!

Yesterday it was about 76 degrees. I went to the farmer's market and meyer lemons and regular lemons were five for a dollar! I bought five of each, along with one blood orange, and headed home.

I love regular lemons, but meyer lemons are even better when you're making something like pink lemonade. They have the acidity and floral aroma of a regular lemon, but, as the cross-breed of lemons and mandarin oranges, they're a bit sweeter and fruitier. The smell of a meyer lemon cut in half is enough to send me over the edge of foodie ecstasy.

For Christmas, I got this:
A 12-cup KitchenAid food processor, in my favorite color, no less! I have been DYING for one of these all year. Thanks to my dear Mom & Dad for making my dream ~come true~!

Better yet? It comes with this:
A citrus juicing attachment! I can now enjoy freshly squeezed citrus juice of all kinds. Yesterday, of course, I put it to work when I made this easy pink lemonade recipe.

I made simple syrup by heating up 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar together, stirring until the sugar had dissolved. Then, I juiced 4 lemons, 5 meyer lemons, and half of one blood orange (that's what makes the lemonade pink! No artificial coloring needed). I added the juice to a large Ball jar, along with the simple syrup and 7 cups of cold water. I popped the jar in the fridge and my easy pink lemonade was ready to drink in an hour. 
Served over ice with a cheerful garnish, this pink lemonade was the perfect treat for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Easy Pink Lemonade Recipe

4 lemons
5 meyer lemons
1/2 blood orange
1 cup sugar
1 cup plus 6 cups water

1. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar over medium, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.
2. Juice the lemons and the blood orange half. Strain the juice through a fine sieve to remove the small seeds.
3. In a large jar or pitcher, stir together the juice, simple syrup, and 6 cups of cold water. Let pink lemonade chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Serve over ice.

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