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Fresh-squeezed lemonade ratios

Fresh-squeezed lemonade ratios
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  • Fresh-squeezed lemonade ratios

    Post #1 - July 15th, 2006, 1:00 pm
    Post #1 - July 15th, 2006, 1:00 pm Post #1 - July 15th, 2006, 1:00 pm
    What a great day for a big glass or three of fresh-squeezed lemonade! Here are the basic ratios that we work with:

    SQUEEZE – squeeze your lemons and measure how much juice you have. Put juice in bottom of a pitcher.

    DILUTE – To pitcher, add water equal to four times the amount of lemon juice. Example, if you have 1-1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice, you will need six cups cold water.

    SWEETEN -- Take the same amount of sugar as you have juice. Example, if you have 1-1/2 cups lemon juice you will need 1-1/2 cups sugar. Put sugar into small pot. Add a third the amount of water. Example, if you have 1-1/2 cups sugar, you will need ½ cup water. Bring nearly to boil on stove, stirring until the sugar disolves and some of the cloudiness is dissipating. You don’t have to take this all the way to the simple syrup stage. Pour into pitcher and stir.

    CHILL – This mixture stands up to ice so add a good amount or pour over ice right into the glasses.

    The ratios are:
    1 : 1 -- lemon juice : sugar
    4 : 1 – cold water : lemon juice
    3 : 1 – sugar : water for simple syrup

    If you have about eight to ten lemons, your recipe may look like this:
    1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
    6 cups cold water
    1-1/2 cup sugar
    ½ cup boiling water for simple syrup

    Enjoy! --Joy
  • Post #2 - July 15th, 2006, 2:47 pm
    Post #2 - July 15th, 2006, 2:47 pm Post #2 - July 15th, 2006, 2:47 pm
    I typically skip the stovetop part by using superfine sugar, which dissolves more readily and is handy if you only want to make a glassful or so at a time. (Also, I don't really care if it doesn't dissolve quite all the way -- I kind of like that "lemon shake-up" crunch.)

    You can typically find superfine sold with the bartending supplies, or sometimes in the baking department as "baker's sugar."

    These ratios also work if you use sparkling water or lime juice.
  • Post #3 - July 7th, 2008, 4:07 pm
    Post #3 - July 7th, 2008, 4:07 pm Post #3 - July 7th, 2008, 4:07 pm
    Classic Lemonade: "Cook's Illustrated"-Style

    Gentlemen, when your (very) pregnant requests good lemonade, you go get some lemons and get to work. It was a veritable lemon party in my kitchen:

    Image

    Before I looked here, I dialed up my "Cooks Illustrated" web subscription for the ratios (they're my go-to for all the classics). To my surprise, their recipe does not call for juicing and mixing with water and sugar or syrup.
    I've honestly always thought that lemonade was just a simple squeeze-and-stir operation.

    They call for slicing the lemons thin and mashing them with the sugar using a potato masher. Mash until all the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is syrup-y thick:

    Image

    Strain well and mix with water (err on the side of less water until you're happy with the proportions). Chill, garnish, serve:

    Image

    This is a lot more work than just squeezing and mixing. Is it better? I think so. I will say that it did have a depth of lemon flavor that seemed richer and not overcome by tartness or sweetness. Well, worth the effort.

    Best,
    Michael

    PS
    I didn't have the exact amount of lemons called for in CI, so I used 8 lemons, 1 cup of sugar, 4.5 cups of water.
  • Post #4 - July 7th, 2008, 5:49 pm
    Post #4 - July 7th, 2008, 5:49 pm Post #4 - July 7th, 2008, 5:49 pm
    I've made this, too. It makes a wonderfully fragrant lemonade, maybe because those thin slices get a lot of oil from the skin in the mash? I don't know. But it's great.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #5 - July 7th, 2008, 6:02 pm
    Post #5 - July 7th, 2008, 6:02 pm Post #5 - July 7th, 2008, 6:02 pm
    gleam wrote:I've made this, too. It makes a wonderfully fragrant lemonade, maybe because those thin slices get a lot of oil from the skin in the mash? I don't know. But it's great.


    Oddly, they don't explain it in the article, but I would assume the same thing: the oils from the rind impart a boosted lemon flavor without adding acid.
  • Post #6 - July 7th, 2008, 6:05 pm
    Post #6 - July 7th, 2008, 6:05 pm Post #6 - July 7th, 2008, 6:05 pm
    gleam wrote:I've made this, too. It makes a wonderfully fragrant lemonade, maybe because those thin slices get a lot of oil from the skin in the mash? I don't know. But it's great.

    That's exactly the reason. The vast majority of lemon oil is in the peel. It is easily extracted with minimal pressure or even no pressure, if soaked in water or alcohol. Oil can do the job too, with the addition of heat. The acidity of the lemon juice aids the dissolving of the sugar, too.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #7 - July 7th, 2008, 7:02 pm
    Post #7 - July 7th, 2008, 7:02 pm Post #7 - July 7th, 2008, 7:02 pm
    Much faster method, which you can see at any fairgrounds:

    Squeeze the juice from a half lemon into a cocktail shaker. Combine with 1/4 cup sugar, about 1/2 cup water and 1 cup crushed ice. Drop in the squeezed-out rind. Shake vigorously.

    You extract more juice than the method above, and you get the oils, too, released through the friction of the ice and sugar.

    To size up the recipe, use a large jar or a pot with a tight lid and combine juice, sugar, water and rinds. Shake until the sugar is more or less dissolved, then remove the rinds and add ice.

    Maybe this method doesn't extract as much oil as the Cook's Illustrated method, but it makes very good lemonade and it's much less trouble.

    One of the problems I have with Cook's Illustrated's recipes is that they overthink them. And many of them seem to be written by people who have nothing to do but be in the kitchen all day. If they can improve the flavor of something a fraction by adding a dozen extra steps, they think nothing of it.

    Lemonade should be a fast pleasure, not something you have to spend an hour slicing and mashing to make.
  • Post #8 - July 7th, 2008, 7:46 pm
    Post #8 - July 7th, 2008, 7:46 pm Post #8 - July 7th, 2008, 7:46 pm
    LAZ wrote:Lemonade should be a fast pleasure, not something you have to spend an hour slicing and mashing to make.


    To be fair, it took 20 minutes. And now there's a pitcher in my fridge and it's a fast pleasure for the next week or so.
  • Post #9 - July 10th, 2008, 4:10 pm
    Post #9 - July 10th, 2008, 4:10 pm Post #9 - July 10th, 2008, 4:10 pm
    I've often found, though, that soaking lemon slices adds the bitter flavor from the pith. I usually use the wide side of my zester (which, admittedly, is a tool I should get rid of as this is about it's only use) to get strips of zest, and then juice the lemons with my mexican juicer, and use both juice and zest...
  • Post #10 - July 14th, 2008, 8:59 am
    Post #10 - July 14th, 2008, 8:59 am Post #10 - July 14th, 2008, 8:59 am
    Tried this today and the slice and mash worked great. I did not pick up any bitterness from the pith. Next time, I'll start with 3/4 sugar as the full cup it a touch sweet to my taste. Love the photos above really nice work!

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