Warm Temperatures and Sunshine Equal Homemade Lemonade

Driving home on Brooks Hill Road after a visit to the Saturday Bayview Farmers Market this morning, I knew it was a lemonade day. With a forecast in Langley for the high 70s today and low 80s on Sunday, it was time to sit back and sip the lemonade. 

I'm not a big fan of store bought lemonade, whether it's Minute Maid frozen variety (I loved the pink stuff when I was a kid) or Kraft's Crystal Light (reminds me of Tang). So off to the Star Store we went to pick up a bag of lemons and make our own. 

Although Farmer Bob was planning to simply throw in a bunch of sugar and water with the squeezed lemons and call it good, I recalled a recipe from a cookbook I've had for 30+ years. The Picnic Gourmet is a cookbook of "300 delectable dishes for every kind of picnic meal -- from simple backpacking hikes to elegant basket lunches." The book is co-authored by Joan Hemingway and Connie Maricich (yes, that Hemingway, the daughter of Ernest Hemingway's eldest son Jack and sister of Mariel and the now deceased Margaux). 

I reach for this cookbook at least once a summer, as it's a very fun read. The first section of the book includes menus and complete  instructions for a French picnic, all-American picnic, Italian picnic, boating picnic and picnics in fall, winter and spring (the second section of the book includes all the recipes). I spied the lemonade recipe in a chapter titled A Fourth of July Picnic. This was an elaborate picnic held at Trout Creek near Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho -- and in addition to the lemonade, the other menu items looked wonderful, too!

A Fourth of July Picnic
  • Fresh Strawberry Daiquiris
  • Steak Tartare with Sour Cream and Caviar
  • Mushroom-Stuffed Eggs
  • Fried Chicken
  • Ranch-Style Sliced Tomatoes
  • Idaho Potato Salad
  • Mountain Bread, Butter + Huckleberry Jam
  • Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake
  • Burnt-Sugar Ice Cream
  • Lemonade
  • Spiked Iced Coffee (Cognac)
  • Keg of Beer
The lemonade recipe looked simple enough, and the only change we made was reducing the amount of honey -- making for a tart, cool beverage. We used raw honey from Whidbey Island, produced by Island Apiaries in Freeland. 

Yield: 1 Gallon 

If taking lemonade to a picnic by car, make it in a cooler with a spigot so that everyone can help himself. If you'll be hiking to a site that has good fresh water, icy cold from a stream or spring, make the base concentrate in a blender as described below and add the water when it's served.

Fresh lemons, enough to yield 3 cups of juice (12 lemons)
2 cups honey (we reduced it to 1)
1 cup cold water
1 lemon, sliced thinly, for garnish
Fresh mint springs, for garnish

In a blender, mix the lemon juice, honey and water together for 2 minutes. Put this mixture in a cooler or a large container and add chopped ice and cold water to make 1 gallon of lemonade. To make a quart of lemonade, use 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 cup honey, and 1 cup water for the base liquid. Remember to carry a pitcher along to get water from the stream.

"The Picnic Gourmet" by Joan Hemingway and Connie Maricich

Photos by Sue Frause


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