Food & Dining

Lemonade chilled with red, white and blue

alt

Red, White and Blue Lemonade

If you’ve never tasted fresh lemonade, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s just so much more vivid than the supermarket stuff, much more about the lemon and less about the sugar.

True, juicing the lemons can be a pain, but the process becomes very near painless if you start by softening the lemons in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then all you have to do is add sugar syrup — a mixture of sugar and water, heated until the sugar is dissolved — and some cold water. Done.

In short, it’s hard to top fresh lemonade all by itself. Still, for those so inclined, there are plenty of ways to gild this lily. You can infuse the sugar syrup with fresh herbs. You can add seltzer. You can combine it with other fruit juices, including cranberry, apple and pomegranate. Or — and here is the heart of today’s recipe — you can glorify it with flavor-packed ice cubes.

My favorite ice cubes for lemonade (or iced tea) are pureed fruit cubes. Almost any fruit will work. Just puree it, pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze them. The right tool for this job is a blender, which purees the fruit more completely than a food processor or an immersion blender. Of course, you can still use those other tools if they’re the only ones you have at hand.

By the way, if you want to get all fancy, you’re welcome to strain the puree before you freeze it, though the gain in smoothness will also mean a loss in fiber.

In celebration of the Fourth of July, we’ll dress up our lemonade with three different kinds of cubes — watermelon, coconut and blueberry for red, white and blue. Holiday aesthetics and electrifying flavor aside, this drink is almost absurdly healthy. Every glass contains a half-cup each of blueberries and watermelon.

By the way, I used to think watermelon was a loser, nutritionally — all sugar and no substance. I was wrong. Watermelon happens to be an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of A, as well as lycopene, potassium and magnesium. And calorie-wise, it’s very modest. A full cup of diced watermelon clocks in at 46 calories.

There’s no confusion about the virtue of blueberries, which are packed with antioxidants. They’re also a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Finally, they team up beautifully with lemon juice.

Thinking of a bright white fruit with which to fill out my tri-color team of ice cubes wasn’t easy. Happily, during a rummage through the cupboard I stumbled upon a can of lite coconut milk. As everyone knows, fruit and coconut go together like fireworks and the Fourth of July.

One of the most appealing aspects of this libation is that its flavor mutates and deepens as the cubes melt slowly in the glass. I suggest giving the process a head start by letting the drink stand for a bit before serving.

Red, White and Blue Lemonade

Ingredients:

3 cups cubed seeded watermelon (the redder the better)

— — —

3 cups cleaned and rinsed fresh blueberries

— — —

3/4 cup well-stirred lite coconut milk

— — —

3/4 cup sugar

— — —

1/3 cup water

— — —

1 cup fresh lemon juice

— — —

Fresh mint leaves, to garnish

In a blender, puree the watermelon until it becomes liquefied. Pour the watermelon liquid into ice cube trays (you should have enough liquid for twelve 2-tablespoon cubes). Rinse out the blender, add the blueberries and puree until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the blueberry puree to another ice cube tray. In a third tray, divide the coconut milk between 6 cubes.

Transfer all of the trays to the freezer and freeze until solid, preferably overnight.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

In a pitcher combine 1/2 cup of the sugar syrup with the lemon juice. Add 3 cups of cold water, then taste and add additional sugar syrup if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

To serve, place 2 watermelon cubes, 2 blueberry cubes and 1 coconut cube in each of 6 rocks glasses. Top the glasses with lemonade, then garnish with mint. Let sit for 10 or so minutes to allow the cubes to melt slightly and flavor the lemonade.

(Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She currently stars in public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”)




More Close Up

Lessons on India

Former UWG president speaks to Rotary

Dr. Beheruz Sethna presented on the positives and negatives of India to the Newnan Rotary Club on Oct. 10. Sethna acted as University of Wes ... Read More


Community Calendar

The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra season opens on Oct. 21 with Celebrating Stage and Screen, conducted by guest conductor Richard Prior. The O ... Read More


Focus on the Family

Be open with son about circumstances of adoption

Q: We adopted our son at birth and have raised him in a loving home. Now that he's a teenager, he's obsessed with the fact that he's adopted ... Read More


Weekender: See & Do

• Southern Ground Social Club, 18 Main St., Senoia, Fri., Oct. 17, New Orleans soul singer Kristin Diable will perform with The City an ... Read More


Going once... Going twice...

Well-known artists in the community enter auction

Will Sumpter racked his brain for the best way to give local art a worthy platform and to finally came up with a solution: an auction at the ... Read More

Island Appeal

Twisted Peelz lets the food do the talking

When Sean Medford moved to Newnan from New York City, there was definitely some culture shock. As a longtime resident of the Jamaica Q ... Read More