Homemade Enlightened Lemonade

It’s that time of the year again, SUMMER! Sunny days, activities, picnics, BBQing, friends and HOT weather… perfect conditions for a glass of ice cold lemonade!

When I think of lemonade, images of children selling Dixie cups of juice on the sidewalk flash through my mind. I took part in this all American activity as a youngster, posting up with my friends on the corner and hustling overpriced diluted lemonade. For many including myself, this was our first introduction into entrepreneurship. For something so rooted in our culture, it’s interesting to learn the origins of lemonade come from medieval Egypt. The first documentations of this “sugar water and lemon” drink are in the chronicles of a Persian poet and traveler named Nasir-i-Khusraw (10th century). Also, it is documented in the Cairo Geniza (records of the medieval Jewish community in Cairo from the 10th-13th centuries) that bottles of lemon juice, “qatarmizat,” with sugar were traded locally and also exported.

My motivation: I am committed to cutting out refined sugars from my diet. I choose to sweeten with raw agave nectar, which is a low glycemic sweetener made from the agave cactus. This too I work to use in moderation. It has been found in recent studies that high levels of sugar in a person’s diet can cause lower brain function… among other things. Most juice in the stores are pumped full of added sugars and flash pasteurized for our safety, leaving little to no health benefit. The manufacturing process kills vital enzymes and nutrients. Buying a juicer changed my life! Not only was I able to have delicious inexpensive juice, I could feel the nourishment it gave me. This recipe reflects my lifestyle. Fresh, healthy, and healing… that’s what I’m all about.

Moving right along, here is my “Enlightened Lemonade” recipe.

  • You need:
  • *2 large mason jars (with lids)
  • *1 handful of fresh mint leaves
  • *1 handful of fresh lemon balm leaves
  • *raw agave nectar
  • *2 lemons juiced

Step 1- Wash and place mint leave in one mason jar, wash and place lemon balm leaves in the other mason jar. Muddle leaves with the end of a wooden spoon or something to that effect.

Step 2- Fill both mason jars half full of drinking water, secure with lid and place in the fridge for 24-48 hours.

Step 3- Strain leaves out of both jars. You can do this by combining the water from one jar into the other, then clean out leaves and strain into newly emptied jar. Or using another container works too. The goal is to end up with the mint water and the lemon balm water in 1 jar.

Step 4- add lemon juice to taste. I suggest going slowly, little by little. Also add agave to taste. There are so many ways to serve lemonade… tart, sweet, tart and sweet, watered down, super concentrated, etc. Play around with it to find the perfect mix for you.

Step 5- Secure jar with lid and SHAKE! Add ice and drink up.

Why mint and lemon balm leaves you may ask? Both herbs provide calming, hydrating and nurishing qualities, along with healing essential oils that are released in the infusion process. Also, it makes for a fresh, raw, tea based lemonade beverage that’s both healthy and yummy.

I encourage you to play around with this recipe. Maybe add lime juice, maybe strawberry or ginger juice. You could infuse (soak) fresh basil leaves with the mint. The possibilities are endless.

Stay tuned for more Angeli inspired summer recipes to come. 

 

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