Lemonade is a popular summer time beverage. Though originally made with lemons, sugar and water, today most folks use a powdered lemonade mix to quickly make a pitcher of sweet lemony goodness. Unfortunately, many of today’s mixes contain loads of refined GMO sugar, chemical preservatives, artificial flavors and toxic food dyes. Many contain 0% actual lemon! With a little more work, you could make your own lemonade that harnesses the detoxifying powers of fresh lemon juice, and the numerous health benefits of raw honey. But is homemade lemonade any good and is it worth it?
- Better for you – fresh lemon juice has cancer fighting compounds, aids in digestion, has antibacterial properties, and is a great source of vitamin C (source)
- Better for you 2 – raw honey has anti-viral, anti-fungal, antibacterial properties, strengthens immune systems, and is a great allergy fighter (source)
- Better for the earth – skipping the store-bought mix means much less plastic packaging in the waste stream and less carbon emissions by manufacturing plants.
- Easily tailored to your tastes – you can easily make your beverage sweeter or more lemony depending on your preferences
- Takes a little bit of work to make: not a lot, but a little more
- Honey is a little more tricky to dissolve in water vs sugar
Lemons are abundant where I live in Southern California. Many people have lemon trees in their backyard and are happy to
unload on share their bounty with anyone who visits. It’s also quite common for boxes of lemons to show up in the workplace – free for the taking (much like Midwestern zucchinis do in the fall). Recently I was visiting a friend at her home, and she stuffed four gigantic lemons in my diaper bag on the way out.
We really enjoy lemons at our house. We often squeeze fresh lemons over our roasted veggies and fish, into cold water and soups, and over our favorite cilantro chicken. But these monster lemons were special, and needed something special to be included in. I thought this would be a great opportunity to show the kids how to make a healthy, yummy lemon treat from scratch.
We had just been to the Santa Monica farmer’s market where we picked up some local raw honey. Honey is an all natural sweetener that can be used in place of sugar. Lemons + Sugar? Sounds like Lemonade! We don’t serve juice at our house so my kids consider anything other than milk or water a super special treat. They are so deprived! 😉
Basic Honey Lemonade Recipe (a good place to start)
- 2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 part raw liquid honey
- 6 to 8 parts water and ice
The tricky part to this recipe is getting the honey all mixed together with the water. I made the mistake of first trying to stir my glob of honey into filtered water from my fridge. It didn’t dissolve well at all. I kept grabbing globs and smashing them apart with my (clean) fingers. It was a pain and a mess. The next time I made the lemonade I dissolved the honey in a small amount of warm water before stirring it in with the lemon juice and water.
Make sure you do a quick taste test and add more lemon, honey, or water to suit your tastes.
This lemonade is fantastic! We drink it often, and sometimes even add some fresh mint from the garden for added flavor. I feel good serving it to the kids because it has healthy fresh lemon juice and healthy raw honey, and no added chemicals, preservatives, food dyes or GMOs. They love it because they get to have as much as they want until the pitcher is gone.
Have you ever tried making lemonade with honey? What are some other things you like to do with fresh lemons?