Homemade Lemonade Concentrate
The original of this recipe comes from the One Roast Vegetable site (oneroastvegetable.com) whose mission is to make adding fruits and vegetables to your daily menu easier.
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Do not overcook as you will end up with candy instead of syrup!
* Use other fresh juices such as orange or grapefruit in place of some or all of the lemons (adjust sugar as necessary--remember, lemons are usually more sour than many fruits and thus would require more sugar...unless you're adding grapefruit, in which case, leave it all in!).
* Finely zest some lemon peel into syrup while bringing to the boil - maybe half a teaspoon or so. Depending on the size and quantity of the zest, you may want to strain this before serving to guests.
*If you want to kick up the yellow coloring a tad, as well as add a little taste of something indefinable, put a small pinch of saffron into the pot while bringing the syrup to a boil. (I don't know about you, but I have a box of saffron threads going stale in my cupboard because I bought it for one recipe, long ago, and there just isn't that much call for it in other recipes!)
Be sure to crush the threads thoroughly. If you've left the pulp or zest in your mix, you won't need to strain out the saffron; but if your lemonade is free of all flotsam then you may want to strain it out when you pour the prepared lemonade into your serving glass.
Defrost concentrate.* In a pitcher or glass, combine equal parts concentrate with water. Add ice if desired (see #7 below) and enjoy!
* Do not re-freeze after thawing; store unused portions in refrigerator! If you plan to make one (8 oz.) glass at a time, I suggest freezing concentrate in half-cup portions. Zipper freezer bags work well for this. Be sure to remove as much air as possible without spilling syrup. Use a sturdy walled freezer-safe container to corral the bags until frozen solid, or place horizontally on cookie sheet and stack later when frozen--just be sure all the zippers are snapped tightly closed!
*Use cranberry juice and fizzy water instead of plain water.
*Use prepared tea instead of water.
*Add a shot of your preferred alcoholic beverage to glass before serving: light rum, gin, tequila, vodka, etc.
*Float a sprig of fresh mint or rosemary in glass before serving.
Freeze small fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, cherries or fraises des bois (tiny wild strawberries) in individual ice cubes: Fill reservoirs half full with water or fruit juice and add cleaned fruit (it will float). Freeze solid. If you wish, once solid you can top off each reservoir with a dab of additional water or juice to cover more of the fruit. Return to freezer until solid.
At this point you can remove ice cubes from tray to make more ice cubes. Store cubes in airtight zipper bags; remove as much air as possible from bag before returning to freezer.
Remember: water DOES evaporate while frozen! This is part of the "freezer burning" process that makes old frozen food taste bad even though it's not technically spoiled. To help your frozen food stay fresh longer while frozen, keep it away from air!