The idea probably would not have occurred to me on my own. But, my four-year old spied five-pound bags of lemons on sale at HEB and
insisted requested that we buy some to make lemonade. I aspire to be one tenth of the woman Yolanda Foster is. Given that I’m not blonde, Dutch, or capable of maintaining my refrigerator in a state of glass-doored readiness, I figured being in possession of a surfeit of citrus was about as close as I could get.
I now recognize that the activity has a lot to recommend it.[hr]
First, in terms of taste and nutrition,* there is absolutely no comparison between pre-fab, from-concentrate, or from-powder lemonade and the real thing. The fresh product absolutely is worth the minimal effort.
*Yes, it has sugar. If this is a concern, play with the ratios or substitute the sweetener of your choice to make a version you can live with. While I don’t let my kids mainline glucose, I don’t worry too much about how much sugar finds its way into their “pretty healthy” diets. Real lemonade has the benefits of fresh lemon juice and a healthy slug of water. More important to me, it helps them develop a taste for real–not artificial–flavors and tastes other than one-dimensional “sweet.”[hr]
Second, it’s a great kitchen activity for the littlest sous chefs. The techniques (squeezing, pouring, mixing) don’t require super-developed motor skills. There’s a large margin of error. And, in relatively few steps, they can see familiar ingredients undergo a significant transformation in terms of appearance and taste. If, like me (and my co-contributor, Alvina), you are intent on making your children comfortable in the kitchen, the act of making lemonade pulls together some important basic concepts.[hr]
Finally, it’s timeless. There’s something to be said for teaching our iPhone-able young’uns to appreciate old-timey charms. Especially those that can present an object lesson in the dangers of a hyper-regulated marketplace and bureaucratic overreach.[hr]
The process is so simple, I hesitate to refer to a “recipe.” Over heat, dissolve one cup of sugar in one cup of water to make simple syrup. Combine the syrup with 1 cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. (If you are shopping specifically for this project, keep in mind that a large lemon will yield about 1/4 cup of juice. To maximize yield, roll each lemon on the counter, applying downward pressure with your hand before you cut and squeeze it.) Add three or four cups of cold water to dilute. Drink, preferably barefooted, in a rocking chair, on a wooden porch.[hr]
Do you make simple pleasure recipes with your kids? Please tell me about them in the comments below!