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Two glasses of lemonade garnished with mint on a surface
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5 from 12 votes

Healthy Lemonade (with No Refined Sugar)

I like my lemonade not too sweet with a strong citrus flavor, yes, tangy. If that's not your thing, you could add more sugar, but that would go against making it healthier.The proportions will vary depending on the sweetness and strength of your lemonade and the acidity of your lemons to begin with. Start with the proportions of ¾ cup of sugar for a more tart flavor or ½-¾ cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of lemon juice. Reduce the amount of sugar for lemonade with Meyer lemons. I infused some lemon zest for a more intense lemon flavor. If this is less your thing, you can skip this step.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Drink
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Servings: 5
Calories: 69kcal
Author: Naïby

Equipment

  • Zester 
  • Citrus juicer 
  • Measuring cup
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Container (pitcher)

Ingredients

  • ½-¾ cup coconut palm sugar or any sweetener (Notes)
  • 4 cups springwater or tap water, divided
  • 1 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • Fresh mint optional

Instructions

Make the simple syrup:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from fire.
  • Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and refrigerate (or even faster, in the freezer) until cold. Strain the syrup through a sieve into an airtight container, pressing hard, then removing the solids.

Make the lemonade:

  • Add the lemon juice and lemon slices.
  • Optionally garnish with mint in the jar.
  • Add ice cubes to cool immediately or place in the refrigerator until the lemonade is cold enough to serve.
  • Placed in an airtight container, this healthy homemade lemonade will keep for up to 5-7 days.

Notes

Sugar: you can use any sweetener, like agave syrup or brown sugar. If using Erythritol, you can use 1 cup as it is not as sweet.
Simple syrup can easily be made ahead and refrigerated for up to five days for later use.
Buy quality lemons: big, heavy, and squeezable. Take six to eight so you don't run out. Late season lemons are less acidic than early season lemons. Also, Meyer lemons (available in winter and spring) are sweeter and juicier than standard lemons. They make amazing lemonade with a delicious sweet flavor. 
Extract the lemon juice to the last drop: Before squeezing the lemons, soak them in lukewarm water and roll them on the counter with your palm, exerting some pressure before cutting them in half.
Don't ignore making the sugar syrup (aka simple syrup): this will help the sugar to dissolve and blend beautifully into the lemonade.

Variants

Strawberry Lemonade: Puree 2 cups of fresh, cleaned, and hulled strawberries in a juice extractor or blender. If a blender is used, pass the mash through a mesh strainer to remove large pieces of pulp. Add the strawberry puree to the lemonade recipe above, but reduce the cold water to 2 cups.
Lemon Cocktail: Combine the lemon juice and simple syrup with 2 cups of cold water from the recipe above. Add 1 cup of lemon or other vodka and 1⁄3 cup of orange liqueur. Mix well. Frost glasses with a sugar rim and pour over crushed ice. Add a lemon wedge to garnish.

Nutrition

Serving: 4cups | Calories: 69kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 32mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
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