Sometimes things don’t go quite to plan, and as they say, when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade.
So what with today being one of those days, I’m sharing my version of Mrs Beeton’s 1861 recipe for lemonade.
The rind of two lemons, the juice of three large lemons, ½ lb (225 g) sugar, and 1 quart (you might as well say 1 litre) boiling water.I find this way too sweet, so I only use about ¾ oz (20 g) of sugar. I’m pretty sure this would be something to do with the sugar being less refined in those days.
I find this way too sweet, so I only use about ¾ oz (20 g) of sugar. I’m pretty sure this would be something to do with the sugar being less refined in those days.
Peel the lemons with a knife or peeler so that you have long strips, but try not to get a lot of the bitter white pith. Put it in a big jug with the juice, sugar, and water and leave to cool. Strain before drinking. Mrs Beeton suggests that you can improve the texture by beating in an egg white. And improve the flavour by mixing in a little sherry (neither of which I have tried).
What I have tried, is lemon barley lemonade, by making barley water to use in the lemonade. To make the barley water, bring the water to the boil with ½ cup of pearl barley, then reduce to a low heat, cover and simmer for ½ hour. Strain and use for the lemonade.
Mrs Beeton felt obliged to add a warning to the recipe. It seems she believed that acidic drinks prevented obesity, so she urged you not to drink too much lemonade lest you be lulled into a false sense of security by its mildness and waste away to nothing.