One of the nice things about living in New Jersey is that spring tends to come earlier than many of the northern states and stays longer unlike some southern states. I am from Michigan originally, and while there is much more of a distinct spring in MI, it tends to be later and frankly, I do not handle cold weather all that well, so NJ springs are perfect for me.
While spring is nice, I often do not feel like spending much time in the kitchen during the spring, at least when the weather is nice. But a true spring tends to have just as many cool rainy days as sunny warm ones and so, on those cool rainy ones I try to do baking and freezing for the summer.
This project starts in January and February during citrus season. I know, this takes a lot of forethought, but just keep in mind those hot, humid ninety degree days with a cold glass of lemonade.
During citrus season, lemons and limes tend to be of better quality and a bit less expensive. So I buy a bag of lemons and a bag of limes and make…
Spiced Lemon Limeade
This is based on a very old recipe from Better Homes and Garden.
1 bag organic lemons
1 bag organic limes
8 cups water
rosemary (2 tablespoons dried or 2 fresh sprigs)
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1. Using a mortar and pestle, gently break up the all-spice into large pieces.
2. In a saucepan, bring one cup of water to a boil and add the rosemary and allspice to the water, cover and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Let mixture cool.
3. In the meantime, cut and squeeze 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup lime juice into a pitcher, if making immediately or a ball jar, if freezing.
4. Strain the herbed water into either the pitcher or the ball jar, removing all the rosemary and allspice bits.
5. If making immediately, add 7 cups water to pitcher.
To sweeten: I find most lemonades to be very sweet, so we usually leave the pitcher unsweetened and simply sweeten each poured glass with honey or agave or sugar water. But you can also add a sweetener to the pitcher. If using white sugar, I suggest starting at a 1/2 cup and gradually adding more.
If freezing, freeze your concentrate after step four. To make later, thaw and add 7 cups of water and then sweeten.
We have also spiked this lovely concoction with white rum or gin.
While not summer yet, we have already enjoyed a pitcher of this…in NJ, our springs can be eighty degrees!