When I was a kid, one of the things I liked best about the county fair was the lemonade stand! They’d fill up a big cup with ice and cut a real lemon in half, then squeeze it on one of those old-fashioned metal juice presses – the kind with a big handle that comes down to squeeze the juice out. The juice and what was left of the lemon went into the cup along with some sugar. Water was added, then a fresh cup was placed on top to shake the mixture before turning it upside down into the new cup. I loved that stuff and must have spent more money on lemonade than anything else! Now, when I’m looking for a special drink for the kid’s birthday parties, I always think of lemonade. It’s really easy to make up a pitcher at home and the kids seem to like it as much as I did when I was little.
This is a great project for the kids to do. Other than cutting the lemons in half, there isn’t anything particularly dangerous. If you are making this for a party, it can be one of the activities that they do at the beginning of the party. For a whole pitcher, we use about 5-6 lemons, 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/3 pitcher of ice, and water to fill the pitcher.
Start by cleaning the lemons really well. If you can find organic lemons, that’s a great choice. I like to trim the stem parts off if I have time, just to make it look prettier in the pitcher, but this totally is not necessary.
Squeeze the juice of each lemon into the pitcher and add the squeezed lemon. If your lemons have a ton of seeds, you might want to do this over a colander. I usually throw it all in, seeds and all, because I don’t want to lose the pulp.
I like to use this wooden juicer, but there are all kinds of juicers that will work and if you don’t have a juicer, you can squeeze the lemons by hand. I’ve also used a fork after hand squeezing to get the last bits out. If you have one of those old fashioned ones that they use at the fair, I’m jealous! 🙂
I usually end up leaving a few of the lemon rinds out of the pitcher so that it doesn’t fill up too much with lemons. You’ll have to use your best judgement depending on the size of your pitcher.
Add some ice (about 1/3 to 1/2 of the pitcher, then add sugar. I like to use between 1/2 – 3/4 cup of sugar, depending on the tartness of the lemons. You’ll have to add more or less to your taste – start with less as you can always add more. Other sweeteners could probably be used instead of sugar – experiment with your favorite.
Fill the pitcher with water. Give it a stir and taste.
Tall glass of ice cold lemonade on a warm summer day – ahh, delicious! 🙂