Lemonade (lemon squash)

To make about 3 - 3.5 litres of concentrate:

10-15 medium lemons, unwaxed and thoroughly washed
1kg sugar (2.2lb)
>water for cooking and cooling

Use a potato peeler or lemon parer to remove just the outer yellow part of the rind of about ten lemons. Place these yellow parings in a large saucepan with about 500ml water, or a bit more. Bring to the boil then gently simmer for about ten minutes. The water should become yellow and smell of lemon as the oils are released.

Add the sugar, and stir gently over the heat until it's all dissolved. Turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Now cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice. This is easiest with an electric juicer or suitable food processor attachment. Keep squeezing lemons until you have about a litre (which is roughly an American quart) of juice, including the pips and 'gunk'. With reasonable sized lemons each one yields around 100ml; with smaller ones you'll need to squeeze more. Occasionally when our home-grown lemons have been small, I've needed 20 or more to produce a litre of juice.

Add all the juice (and gunk) to the pan, stir roughly, and leave to cool.

Use a nylon sieve to strain the lemonade over a large jug, and decant into bottles. Add extra water as necessary to squeeze the last of the lemonade out of the bits left in the sieve, and to make the resulting lemonade up to about 3 litres or a bit more, depending on the size of your bottles.

Put straight in the fridge. To use, dilute as necessary with cold water. I usually put about 2cm lemonade in the bottom of a tall glass and fill up with water. Others might have more of the concentrate.

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This is a great recipe for those in warm countries with a glut of lemons on their trees. Or if you can find unwaxed lemons at the market for a good price. Alas, it would be terribly expensive if you bought organic shrink-wrapped lemons at one of the big UK supermarkets. You'd be better off just buying cartons of fruit juice.

But it's still a great recipe, even though the amount of sugar needed is rather frighteningly high. You might get away with less if your family doesn't have a particularly sweet tooth, but experimentation showed this to be about the right amount for us. It's much like British-style lemon squash of the high-juice variety, with no artificial additives at all. Or like the lemonade that can be made from frozen concentrate in the USA. It does need to be refrigerated after making, and won't last more than about ten days at most, so make less if you don't drink much of this kind of thing.

If, like us, you find you have far too many lemons to use in the spring, try freezing some. I prepare the yellow outer parings and put them in a freezer bag, then squeeze a litre of juice and put it in a suitable container. This is very useful for the summer when (a) we don't have any lemons growing and they're not widely available in the supermarkets (b) it's far too hot to do much in the kitchen anyway.


josie said...

This was REALLY helpful. Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic recipe, the only thing wrong with it is that it is sooooo good it doesn't last very long! THANKS

Anonymous said...

It doesn't add up since we use half a liter of water with the zest and 1 liter of juice plus allow for the volume of sugar; and don't forget the evaporation factor.
How on earth you end up with 3 - 3½ liter of concentrate?
The end product was excellent but We ended up with a little more than 1½ liter.
Please make the necessary correction at the beginning of your recipe.

Sue said...

As I said in the recipe, use extra water as needed when straining the pith and rind etc. You could of course make it more concentrated, in a litre and a half, and would then need to add a lot less water to dilute it. I make it up to three litres, since my family seem to add the same amount of concentrate no matter how concentrated it is! It's true that my 'concentrate' is already slightly dilute by the time I've added water to make it up to three litres, but that's how it works for us.

Casey Friday said...

I'm known as a hero around my parts for using this amazing recipe. Thanks so much!

Ryan said...

Nice post!