Healthy Honey Mint Lemonade
Summer BBQs and picnics in the park or on the beach aren’t the same without a delicious ice-cold and refreshing pitcher of lovingly-made fresh lemonade: and I’m not talking about that fizzy stuff from the supermarket! If you haven’t tried homemade traditional lemonade then fear not, because it is actually very easy to concoct and only takes 15 minutes. A tasty treat, I’ve been whipping up lots of this summertime drink to cool down in this delightful hot sunny weather.
Many recipes I have found for homemade lemonade, including a few on the BBC Good Food website, use just over half a cup of sugar (100-150g) per litre of lemonade. After testing these recipes I found the ratio of sugar to lemons and water too generous, making a lemonade too sweet for my taste (a surprise to me as I have a terrible sweet-tooth!). I also knew it would be much better to replace the white refined cane sugar for a healthier alternative. Noticing the fresh juice from the lemons was actually almost sweet enough on its own without the need for extra sweetness, I decided to create a recipe using raw honey to accommodate those like me that like a more tart and zingy lemonade. In a traditional recipe you would create a sugar syrup to dissolve the sugar and prevent it sinking to the bottom of the pitcher, though to retain the nutritional benefits of the raw honey I decided not to heat it. You could also swap the honey for organic coconut sugar though it isn’t a very sustainable food.
A Source of Vitamin C
Fresh lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C! According to the Nutrition Journal (2003): “many health benefits have been attributed to ascorbic acid such as antioxidant, anti-atherogenic, anti-carcinogenic, immunomodulator and prevents cold”. As the human body doesn’t store this essential vitamin in the body, it is important to include it in a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables in order to consume and absorb it. Interestingly the British Navy used to give sailors a daily ration of lime or lemon juice to overcome ascorbic acid (vitamin C) deficiency and prevent scurvy. This lemonade will provide more than enough of the RDA of vitamin C for six people 🙂
Serves 6 people:
- 6-8 large unwaxed organic lemons (or more if you like it tangy!)
- 1-2 tablespoons of raw organic runny honey or thick raw honey
- 1.5 litres filtered cold water
- Ice cubes
- 1 unwaxed organic lemon cut into slices
- Fresh mint
How To Make
- Juice the lemons into a bowl and make sure to remove pips. Tip: to get all the juice more easily, firmly roll the lemons first on a surface with the palm of your hand before cutting in half and juicing (I used a basic wooden beech hand juicer which is apparently called a reamer!)
- In a separate bowl, add a little of the fresh lemon juice at a time to the raw honey and stir (or use a milk frother) to make a smooth paste. It will take a tad more time to dilute the thicker honey into a runny smooth consistency than the runny honey. Keep adding the rest of the lemon juice a little at a time so that all the honey is thoroughly and evenly mixed into the lemon juice.
- Pour the lemon and honey mixture into your pitcher (I found mine for £5 at a local Oxfam and it’s pretty rad). Add 1.5 litres of ice-cold filtered water and stir before popping in some ice cubes and fresh lemon slices. Smack the fresh mint in your palms to release the most amazing flavour in the world and stir into the lemonade.
- Sit the pitcher in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to sip on your tasty tangy lemonade.
So simple and a lovely accompaniment with strawberries and cream whilst watching Wimbledon! Of course you can tweak the recipe according to your taste and dilute or add more lemon juice if necessary. I also like to keep the pulp in my lemonade but you could strain this out before mixing with the honey if you wanted (or whizz it with a hand blender). Enjoy in a large glass and feel rather smug at your lemonade-making abilities!
P.S. Shout out to Booths for the best kick-ass lemons I ever tasted! The Keswick store is awesome.
P.P.S. Add a bit of white rum to turn this into a yummy alcoholic beverage 😀