Welcome to Full Fork Ahead today, where we make lemonade fancy! The kind of fancy where, were you to order it in a restaurant, you’d be charged at least two bucks and almost another one in change. Yeah, fancy! This turned out so nicely; it’s very refreshing and just tart enough without making your face want to cave in and exit out your ears. Cuz fancy lemonade just doesn’t act that way.
Okay, so you want to make lemonade. With so few ingredients it seems deceptively quick and simple…right? It is in a way, but…
…making this stuff is actually pretty hot work! You want a cool, refreshing drink to enjoy? This time you might sweat a little to get it, especially this time of year. We had three of my burners going on the stove top and that tends to heat things up.
You start off by adding one quarter cup of sugar to lots of sliced strawberries. These will cook down in a double boiler for 25 minutes.
The strawberries are then strained to reserve only the juice. The important part is not to press on the berries as this will cause the lemonade to take on a cloudy, muddled texture. Don’t press and you’ll come out with a nice, clear liquid to sip.
Once your six tea bags have steeped and cooled (the tea steeps for thirty minutes, by the way), start adding everything to your pitcher.
There isn’t actually a whole lot of lemon juice in this one, which was a little surprising. It turned out good in the end so we won’t argue about it too much. But given it’s lemonade we’re making, it was a tad odd that the lemon is one of the least used ingredients. Still, what there is plays very well with the hibiscus herbal tea medley we used.
The brand of tea we used turned out to have peppermint in it as well, and while I wasn’t sure at all how that would turn out, the tea as a whole ended up working wonderfully. The peppermint smelled strong while the tea was dry but we barely noticed it once steeped. There’s a noticeable floral undertone from the hibiscus itself, but it’s balanced very well by the homemade strawberry juice portion and the lemon juice.
Talk about refreshing – while we love us some white sangria at my house, this drink is a bit healthier (no alcohol, for example) and the tea is an herbal infusion so there’s no caffeine. Just sit back, break out your Southern bell fan and have a nice, tall glass of this lemonade. Enjoy.
Strawberry Hibiscus-Tea Lemonade
from Martha Stewart Living, June 2008
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 4-6
For the lemonade:
- 6 cups water
- 6 hibiscus tea bags
- 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
- 1/4 cup Simple Syrup
For the Simple Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
To make the Simple Syrup:
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let cool completely, and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
To make the lemonade:
Bring water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add tea bags, and steep for 30 minutes. Discard tea bags, and pour tea into a pitcher. Let cool completely.
Combine strawberries and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat until strawberries release their juices, about 25 minutes. Strain through a sieve into the pitcher. (Stir gently, but do not press strawberries or juice will become cloudy.)
Add lemon juice and simple syrup to the pitcher, and stir to combine. Divide juice among ice-filled glasses. (Or cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)
The recipe says it makes 6 and 1/4 cups, but if you have more than three or four people I would suggest doubling the recipe so you can offer either enough for the amount of people or even seconds.