I toasted Judy with a refreshing glass of homemade lemonade this morning, squeezed from the bounty of a little lemon tree that is espaliered to a freestanding trellis out in my backyard. (It came along as a housewarming gift; a friend, Rhonda, thought that if I was going to live near a locality called Lemongrove, there should at least be one lemon tree on the property.)
Despite its size, its had several successful crops of lemons (and a few fallow years) since 2001. The lemons have been ripe enough to use for a few weeks now, and I finally found the time to squeeze three cups of lemon juice from the current crop!
A few years ago, I found a great recipe for a lemonade syrup/cordial base over at the Lemonflower website. It is a foolproof recipe. So far.
Basic Lemonade Syrup Base:
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Boiling water
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups Lemon juice
Dissolve sugar into boiling water, turn off. Add zest and lemon juice. Refrigerate in jar or covered container.
To use: Mix 1/4 cup syrup base to 3/4 cup of cold water. For larger amounts, mix proportionately.
All I needed to do was double the quantities. Easy! What was putting me off this year was knowing that, if homemade lemonade (with all that sugar) was sitting in the fridge, I'd drink it till it was gone - and bang goes the diet!
Then I heard a set of radio ads for Splenda, the low calorie sweetener, which I've never bothered to try before. But it worked a treat. No icky aftertaste!