According to the Met Office, spring 2013 has been the coldest in almost half a century, with temperatures for March and April well below average. Add to this the dismal conditions we had last August, and Britain is well overdue for a good summer. A spell of warm, sunny weather for us all to enjoy after the long hard slog of exams – picnics, barbecues, sun-bathing on the grass, and a large glass of something cool and refreshing…
Yet nice as it may sound, a pint of ice-cold beer or jug of Pimms just won’t do – the alcohol produces a dehydrating effect on the body. Water is the obvious choice, as it will immediately replenish any lost fluid, but then again, your body will need to compensate for the sugar as well, something that the water cannot do on its own.
Classic homemade lemonade is made simply from fresh lemon juice, water and sugar, in contrast to commercial brands, which often contain added artificial colours and sweeteners. Delicious, refreshing and easy to make, lemonade contains the fluid and glucose your body needs, plus it is high in vitamin C.
It is thought that bottled lemon juice was being produced and exported around the Middle East and Mediterranean from as early as the 12th century. Today, it is possibly to buy a number of variations on the original recipe, such as cherry lemonade, strawberry lemonade, raspberry lemonade, peach lemonade, mint limeade, grapefruit lemonade and lemon-limeade. Spices, syrups and natural flavourings such as vanilla and rosewater may also be added.
To make a jug of pink lemonade large enough for six people, you will need:
200g caster sugar
Grate the zest from the lemons and put to one side, leaving as much of the white pith intact as possible. Juice the lemons and combine with the zest, sugar and raspberries. Add 1.2 litres of boiling water and leave to cool. Once the juice is at room temperature, pour the juice through a sieve or strainer to remove any bits. Add sugar to taste then chill in the fridge until needed. Serve with lemon slices, raspberries and ice.