The other day I went to our local Aldi and lemons were $1.79 for a bag of large lemons. How could I pass it up?
Did I have an exact use for the lemons? No, but I knew I could find one.
When I got home, I decided I wanted to make lemonade for the kids. It was my birthday and we were busy making an involved dinner, but I really wanted to make lemonade!
One recipe I looked up said that lemonade made from fresh lemons tastes better. I thought, how much better could it taste?
Let me tell you, it tastes pretty amazing!
Once I finished making my lemonade, all these half-used lemons were staring at me. Most of the lemon was leftover and it felt so wasteful to just toss them in the garbage.
So I did what any frugal person who worries about excess waste would do. I went to Google and typed in my question: What do I do with leftover juiced lemons?
And Google answered: You make lemon syrup.
So I did, and it too turned out wayyyy better than I expected.
If you too bought lemons because they were on sale and now you have no idea what to do with them, read on for my lemonade recipe and how to make lemon syrup with the remainders.
My Method of Making Lemonade
I don’t know about you, but I like things to be as easy as possible. So, here’s my quick and dirty lemonade recipe.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- 6-8 lemons (or enough to make 1.5 cups of lemon juice, plus extra lemons to put in the lemonade)
- 1 ⅓ cup sugar
- Lemon juice (if you don’t get enough from your lemons)
- A Gallon Pitcher
What Would be Useful:
- A juicer
- A strainer
I had to add a little bit of bottled lemon juice because I didn’t quite have enough lemon juice for the recipe, but if you have a juicer this shouldn’t be a problem.
Next, I sliced up the lemons and put them in the bottom of my gallon pitcher. I added 1 ⅓ cup sugar (plus a little extra for good measure).
I boiled some water on the stove and poured enough water into my pitcher to cover the lemon slices and the sugar. It’s important to use hot water to help dissolve your sugar.
One the sugar is dissolved, stir in your 1.5 cups lemon juice.
Fill the rest of the gallon pitcher full of cold water, and leave a little room for ice if you plan to serve it right away.
There you have it. Delicious homemade lemonade. So easy. So Tasty.
Stella Park’s Method of Making Lemon Syrup
I want to be totally honest here and say that this is NOT my idea or my recipe AT ALL.
The recipe was created by Stella Parks over at Serious Eats, and I take no credit for it. However, I will share with you my experience with it, and how ridiculously easy it is.
While there are many different ways to make lemon syrup, this particular recipe requires NO HEAT AT ALL.
Evidently, Stella Park was faced with the same decision I had. What should she do with the leftover lemons? Should she toss them, or should she find a use for them?
She decided to find a use for them.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Already juiced lemons
- 1 cup Sugar
- A bowl or pot to put them in
- A strainer or cheesecloth
To make this lemon syrup recipe, place your leftover lemons in a bowl or pot.
Pour the sugar over the lemons, and stir. Tightly seal the mixture.
Stir the mixture every 45 minutes or so until the sugar is dissolved. This could take as long as three hours, but you can leave it for up to twelve hours.
Once the sugar has dissolved and created a syrup, use a strainer or a cheesecloth to strain the syrup. You can also use a stainless steel potato ricer to squeeze extra syrup from the lemons.
Some Notes From My Personal Experience:
Basically, my method of making this was to throw in two cups of sugar and watch it for a few hours. I realize now that I put in WAY too much sugar as not all of it had dissolved by morning.
However, I strained out the extra sugar and the syrup is REALLY good.
Evidently, this recipe works because of the way the sugar reacts to the acid in the lemons. Parks writes, “Lemon rinds are acidic enough to dissolve up to half their weight in sugar, imparting a strong flavor and vivid color without any added juice, flavoring, or dye.”
Super cool food science!
The recipe says that it can remain good for up to three months in the refrigerator. It may even last longer than that, but I am not a food science expert and would not want to recommend a certain amount of time.
What Can You Do with Lemon Syrup?
So great… you’ve made the lemon syrup. Now what?
I wondered the same thing, but here’s a shortlist of ideas for how lemon syrup might come in handy:
- Ice cream topping
- Snowcone topping
- Pancakes or Waffle topping
- Pour over fruit salad
- To sweeten water
- Drizzled over pound cake
- To flavor other drinks like iced-tea
- In marinades and dressings
I imagine there are many other ways to use lemon syrup… How would you use it?