When Life Gives you Lemons…

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

A frosty pitcher of homemade lemonade is welcome refreshment on a sweltering day, but sometimes, I just want a glassful.

Here’s the problem: If I make a whole pitcher, I’ll end up drinking all of it, over the course of days. And since so much sugar is needed to turn tart lemon juice into a sweet drink, I end up having more sugar than I think is healthy.

I’ve been toying with how to custom-make my own concentrate that can be reconstituted for individual servings. If you’d like to try your hand, here’s a method to get you started. However, your own formula will depend on the tartness of the lemons you use and how you like your lemonade.

To create your own formula, make the concentrated sugar syrup below and play with the combination of syrup to lemon juice you would need to make a pleasing drink when combined with 1 cup of water. When you have the right proportion, combine sugar and lemon juice to that proportion and freeze in ice cube trays. Pop in the appropriate number of lemon-sugar cubes into a measured glass of water, add ice cubes and enjoy.

Lemonade Concentrate Cubes
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
¾ cup freshly squeezed Meyer Lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Makes ¾ cup concentrated syrup.

When syrup is cool, add lemon juice and stir to combine thoroughly. Pour 2 tablespoons of concentrate in each “cup” of an ice cube tray.

To use, measure 1 cup water into a glass and add 2 cubes of concentrate. Stir to dissolve the concentrate, then add ice cubes to the glass to chill.

Makes 12 cubes or enough concentrate for 6 (1-cup) glasses of lemonade.


  • You may need to add more lemon or sugar, depending on the flavor of your lemons.
  • Instead of still water, use sparkling water to make a delicious lemon soda.
  • For mint lemonade: muddle mint leaves into the glass before adding the lemonade cubes, water and ice
  • For strawberry lemonade: add pureed strawberries
  • For boozy lemonade: add a splash of tequila, rum or sparkling wine

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Posted: May 22nd by Sandy_Hu