Nothing like lemonade goes hand in hand with an old fashioned summer afternoon, even in the worst sweltering heat. New Orleans has plenty of humidity and warmth to make an icy drink the most interesting thing on the menu, and lemons have a naturally refreshing quality to them. Just for some added twist, this is blueberry season, and what better time to combine the sweetness (and anti-oxidants!) of blueberries with the tart tang of a lemon? The addition of ginger adds an unexpected flavor. In addition, ginger is traditionally considered soothing to the stomach and an aid to digestion, always a help in the heat. This traditional styled recipe uses a LOT of lemons, but it is perfect for those of us who are lucky enough to have a lemon tree that produced lemons despite last winter’s severe cold. For those of us who have little time, few lemons, and are not as concerned about appearances, there is also the Lazy Daisy version, starting with frozen lemonade concentrate and skips some of the steps. Either way, it is sure to be a winner!
Berry-good Ginger Lemonade
- 3 c. sugar
- 1 ¼ c. coarsely chopped fresh ginger
- 8 c. water
- 1 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen (any berry can be used: raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, etc.)
- 4 c. fresh lemon juice (about 30 lemons)
- Lemon slices for garnish
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, ginger and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve and discard solids. Refrigerate until well chilled.
Set aside about 1/3 of the berries for a garnish. In a blender, puree remaining berries until smooth. Strain puree through a fine sieve, pressing berry solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Discard solids.
In a pitcher, combine ginger syrup, strained berry juice and lemon juice. Serve over ice, garnished with the reserved berries and the lemon slices.
Don’t have time for the old fashioned method? Want something faster? Here’s a not-as-pretty version that leaves the whole fruit, starts with frozen lemonade concentrate, and all you cook is the ginger syrup.
Lazy Daisy’s berry-good ginger lemonade
- 1 large can frozen lemonade concentrate (makes 1 gallon)
- 1 c. coarsely chopped ginger
- 4 c. water
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 c. blueberries or other berries
Place ginger, water, and sugar in large saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes and remove from heat. Let stand for 15 minutes (or longer.) Strain out ginger pieces and pour into 1 gallon pitcher.
Place berries and ½ c. water in blender, puree fruit. Pour mixture into pitcher with ginger syrup. Add lemonade concentrate and enough water to fill pitcher. Stir and serve over ice, and refrigerate any leftovers. Garnish with a lemon slice, if desired.