It’s almost Memorial Day, and I am proud to say that I’m the granddaughter of two Marines. They were both fortunate enough to make it home from WWII and I got a chance to know, love, and make memories with both of them, but since they aren’t with us anymore, Memorial Day really takes on another special meaning for me. Most of us know someone who served in the military, some of us knew people who served and are no longer with us, and others know individuals who have suffered the loss of loved ones. Remember that for far too many people, today is not a celebration of the beginning of summer but a time of grieving due to the loss they feel, sometimes all too recent. Try to be cognizant and respectful of that and no matter what your connection to those who have served, take a moment today to remember why we aren’t at work.
The recipe I want to share with you is a new take on one of my all-time favorite summer drinks – fresh squeezed lemonade. But don’t make me be more specific when I pick a favorite. I’ve already posted ginger and strawberry versions of homemade lemonade and my latest creation is watermelon.
I am all about store-bought conveniences when they make my life easier, especially on a weeknight like jarred marinara o– even though when I have the time I like to make it from scratch. But there are just some things that just aren’t the same and lemonade is one of them. I love, absolutely love, fresh squeezed lemonade and I don’t mind doing the work of squeezing the fresh lemon juice. It’s not something I make every week in the summer but it’s a real treat that I always make at least a few times. And it’s certainly something that is a great addition (and worth the effort for!) your Memorial Weekend get-togethers.
Here’s what you need:
The first thing you need to do is make a simple syrup. Bring a cup of water and a cup of sugar to a boil and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool while you make the rest. I didn’t take pictures of this but they are in the strawberry lemonade post if you’re interested.
Then you need to juice enough lemons to get a cup and a half of fresh juice. For me this was 5 small lemons. My handheld juicer works pretty slick. Derek even got me an orange one for Christmas that is a little bit larger and works with oranges or really big lemons.
And we need watermelon puree. I like to cut watermelons by slicing the ends off then setting upright and slicing the rind off with a knife by following it around the curve of the watermelon.
Slice up about ten cups of watermelon and pop it into a blender and turn it on until it’s pureed nice and smooth. This pureed down to about 5 cups.
Strain the watermelon puree using a mesh strainer to remove some of the pulp.
Now we are going to mix together the simple syrup, watermelon and lemon juice. The exact amounts are going to vary based on how tart the lemons are and how sweet the watermelon is.
I started with 2 cups of watermelon, all the lemon juice, and most of the simple syrup. Start to fill the pitcher up with cold water but leave a decent amount of room, say half way. This will allow you to taste although it will still be a little concentrated, but diluted enough to taste it and adjust. I ended up adding another 2 and a quarter cups of watermelon juice and all the simple syrup.
Fill the pitcher with water until full. I popped in a few frozen watermelon slices to cool it down without diluting it.
Serve over ice and enjoy! If you don’t drink it all right away, stir well before serving again.
- 1 c water
- 1 c sugar
- 1 ½ c fresh squeezed lemon juice, approximately 5 small lemons
- 10 cups of watermelon chunks
- 6 c cold water
- Make a simple syrup. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves and allow to cool.
- Juice the lemons until you have about a cup and a half.
- Puree the watermelon in a blender. Strain through a mesh strainer, or regular colander using cheesecloth. This should yield approximately 5 cups.
- In a large pitcher mix together the simple syrup, lemon juice, watermelon juice and cold water. You can adjust to taste by mixing together half of the water, lemon juice, and part of the watermelon juice and simple syrup. Add more of the watermelon and simple syrup to taste. I used 4 ¼ cups total watermelon juice when I made this but it varies a little each time. Add the remainder of the water.
- Serve over ice.