Homemade Honey-Sweetened Lemonade
Do you love lemonade in the summertime but don't love all of the extra sugar?! Try this homemade, honey-sweetened lemonade, the perfect all-natural, summer refreshment.
If ice-cold lemonade doesn't scream summertime, then I don't know what does. Its the perfect refreshment on hot summer days, and who would have thought it would be so easy to make!
With only a window AC unit in our bedroom, our house tends to get extra hot in the summertime. I don't usually mind it, unless its a scorching hot day outside and I can't keep the heat from coming in. On these days, iced, homemade lemonade is the best option we have to take the edge off and cool down. That and running through the sprinklers in our swimmies;)
My husband is a big fan of lemonade during the summer and he especially loves lemonade mixed with his favorite sun-tea. I was excited to see what he thought of this honey-sweetened lemonade. The other evening I poured him a tall glass and waited patiently to hear his thoughts..... his first words after taking a big gulp, "This is the BEST lemonade". This was before I told him I sweetened it with honey or that it was homemade;)
This lemonade recipe would be perfect for a summer BBQ; mix it together a few hours or even a day before and store it in your fridge before your get together. We actually enjoyed it much better the following day after I made it, after it had been in the fridge for a full day. I think the flavors really start to blend by then and become more potent and pronounced.
Your family and guests won't believe that you made this lemonade from scratch when you pour them a tall, iced glass this summer. Make a batch at the beginning of the week and enjoy it as needed throughout your week. I thin it gets better and better as the as it sits.
Choosing Your Lemons
Though any kind of lemons would work well for this recipe, its nice to know what kind of flavor, sweetness, and tartness different lemons will yield.
Most common varieties of regular lemons that you can find at your local grocer are Eureka or Lisbon. Regular lemons are much larger in size, have a more textured skin, and a lighter yellow tint. They are much more acidic and therefore more tart.
Being a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange, Meyer lemons definitely have a different and distinct look, texture, and flavor. They are smaller, and more round and their skin has less texture to it. When eaten or used in recipes they are much sweeter and less acidic than regular lemons
If you are interested in more information on lemon varieties, check out this video by IV Organic, he goes over the three different types mentioned above in more detail!
If you prefer your lemonade a little more tart, then opt for regular lemons, but if you're more inclined towards sweet lemonade, then choose Meyer lemons.
Whatever lemons you decide to go with, try to pick ones that are the brightest in color. Also, if you want to get the most out of your lemons, look for ones that are a little heavier and have a thinner skin, as these will usually have the most juice.
Juicing Your Lemons
Although using a handheld juicer would be the easiest and most time-efficient option, you can always juice your lemons by hand if you don't have one.
I don't have one, so I juiced mine by hand. I placed a small metal strainer over a measuring cup, and squeezed each of the lemons in until I made it to a full cup. The strainer will help to catch all of the pulp and seeds. If you like the pulp in your lemonade, then add it back in!
Try to have your lemons at room temperature before you juice them, as it will make it easier to get all of the juices out. You can even rub each lemon between your hands for a minute or so to warm it up before juicing.
If you would rather use a handheld juicer, here are some great options. Click the photo to shop!
Simple Syrup Option
Usually homemade lemonade using sugar is made by preparing a simple syrup. A simple syrup is just an equal part sugar and water solution that has been heated on the stove until the sugar dissolves. When the sugar dissolves completely into the water there is usually no gritty texture in the lemonade and it makes it easier to combine and mix the sugar and water.
You can also make a simple syrup using honey. I don't find it necessary with the honey, as I think with a good mix it all blends together really well. Just be sure to mix it well each time you go to pour a new batch.
If you are inclined to try the simple syrup option, go for it! Just mix together the 1/2 cup of honey with 1/2 cup of water on the stove until the honey has dissolved. Add the cup of lemon juice and the 4-5 cups (or to taste) of cold water, and you're golden.
18-20 lemons, or 1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
5-6 cups water
1 pinch of salt
Wash and dry your lemons. Using a handheld juicer or your hands, juice the lemons until you have about 1 cup of fresh lemon juice. If you don't quite make it to a cup, don't worry! Just be sure to taste taste as you add your water to get it to your desired flavor.
Combine honey, lemon juice, water, and salt in a large pitcher. Stir well until honey is mixed in. Refrigerate until ready to drink. Pour over ice and enjoy!
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