Editor’s Note: Jennifer Wilkerson has given us homemade bread & dinner rolls and farmer’s cheese… now she brings us a triple doozy: Lemon Syrup, Lemonade & for your cleaning needs lemon vinegar. Man, she’s good isn’t she? -Christina
When farmers markets and fruit stands are bursting with seasonal goodness meals are easy. Any combination of fresh raw vegetables makes a great salad or slaw. And local grass-fed meat needs little more than salt and pepper and a slow and low grilling to be out-of-this-world delicious.
Lemonade is one summer-time treat that just isn’t local in these parts. But don’t abandon your from-scratch tendencies. Instead of grabbing a carton, or slightly-creepy lemonade crystals, reach for some lemons and get squeezing! Lemonade assembles in stages so you can work the prep into your day with little effort.
Here is my simple strategy for making sugar syrup, crisp lemon syrup, lemonade and a great byproduct—lemon vinegar for cleaning.
RECIPE ONE: SUGAR SYRUP
Sugar syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator almost indefinitely and used, as you need it for lemonade or sweetening iced tea or coffee. (I often double this recipe and tuck the jar into the back of the refrigerator until the lemonade urge hits.)
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour into a 1-pint mason jar and cool to room temperature.
RECIPE TWO: LEMON SYRUP
Lemon syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- 8-10 lemons
- Sugar syrup, cooled thoroughly
- Remove stickers and wash your lemons. Cut lemons in half and squeeze out all of the juice. Strain the lemon juice into a 1-quart mason jar. (Save those lemon rinds!) Mix equal parts lemon juice and sugar syrup.
RECIPE THREE: LEMONADE
For old-fashioned lemonade, mix equal parts lemon syrup and cold water and stir. For lemonade soda, substitute seltzer for the cold water.
BONUS RECIPE: LEMON VINEGAR
This lemon-powered cleaner is great for removing hard water stains around sinks and drains, kills odors in stinky laundry (1/2 cup per load) and fights water spots on dishes (1/2–1 cup thrown in the bottom of the dishwasher load). I keep some in a spray bottle and use it all over the house.
- Lemon rinds
- White vinegar
- After you squeeze the lemons, cut the rinds in half again and pack them tightly into a 1-quart mason jar.
- Top off the jar with white vinegar, cap tightly and let it sit on the counter for two weeks.
- Strain off the vinegar and store it in an airtight container in a dark place. (At this point I usually put a handful of the lemon rinds in my garbage disposal and run it to deodorize it. The rest of the rinds get tossed.)