Monday, July 25, 2011

Raspberry Lemonade (and the little tree that could)

Several years ago we had our neighbors over for dinner.  We had been gradually tearing things out of our backyard so the conversation that night turned to gardening and landscaping.  Our neighbors lamented the few citrus trees they had planted that were suffering from too little sunlight.  He asked if we might be interested in a tree or two - sure, why not?  I didn't give it a lot of further thought until the next day he showed up with the most scraggly looking tree ever.  It didn't even have a root ball per se, but rather some dangling little roots.  And the soil where we live is solid clay - very difficult to dig.  Oh, and it was around 100 degrees that day.  And one more thing, I'm not really much of a gardener.  The perfect storm for failure - it seemed like it might be more efficient to throw it straight into the compost bin.  But I dug the best hole I could and plopped that baby in there.  He showed up a few minutes later with another tree and we did the same thing.  He didn't even know if they were lemon, lime, etc. I wish I'd gotten pictures of when they arrived - this picture of the lemon tree was probably taken year later:

It took a few years before they blossomed and we learned what we had.  The tree on the right is lemon and on the left, orange.  I always say that a plant has to have a strong will to live in our yard.  In this case, the lemon was very determined!

Since then we've added two more oranges, another lemon, lime, mandarin and grapefruit.  The orange tree in the front yard is amazing - still small but prolific.  And there is nothing like the smell of citrus blossoms as you pull in the driveway.

Recently my husband and daughter went out to pick the last of the lemons for the season - we figured there might be a few.  There were 64!

They juiced them all and we've been enjoying a lot of homemade lemonade. Yesterday I decided to make raspberry lemonade for a friend recuperating from surgery.  Lemonade is so simple but some like it sweeter, some prefer it very tart.  And the type of juice (Meyer, Eureka) will affect the flavor as well. This recipe is fairly sweet with the raspberries so you may want to adjust accordingly.

Raspberry Lemonade 

1 cup raspberries (frozen are fine but let them thaw first)
2 cups lemon juice
2 cups sugar 
10 cups water

In a blender, combine raspberries with lemon juice and blend until smooth.   In a large pot combine two cups water with two cups sugar and bring to a boil.  Simmer and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.  Let cool.  Add the raspberry lemon mixture and the additional water (you may want to add about seven cups and then add additional to taste).  I suppose you could strain this but I didn't find the raspberry seeds or pulp to be bothersome.  I always save the glass bottles from store bought lemonade and use them over and over!


E @ Act Fast Chef said...

I wish I lived in a climate where I could have citrus trees! How wonderful :)

Your recipe sounds great.

Visiting from Centsational Girl!

sam said...

I miss having citrus trees... We did harvest the mulberry tree that hangs into our yard, though, with another neighbor (a different one, not the one with the tree - there are new tenants in that house and I don't think they know what they have). We have almost 2 qts of mulberry syrup which we are using to flavor lemonade, sparkling water, etc. and the neighbors made jam. Mmm!

Guinnah said...

E - I do love the fact that we can grow citrus. It KILLS me to have to pay for a lemon when I don't have any!

sam - yum! what kind of mulberries? Are they the big fact black ones that look like blackberries? We have those and they are just getting ripe. Flavoring water with the syrup sounds amazing.

Mindy said...

Holy wow! Totally jealous! It would be so fun to have a citrus tree.

sam said...

The mulberries are black, but fairly small and kind of seedy - that's partly why I tried the syrup. Have no idea of the name - the tree seems to be a volunteer, or whoever planted it thought it would be much smaller.

Lynn said...

That looks so refreshing! I used all the lemons you gave me (the kids were very perplexed as to why they had lemons in their suitcases when we arrived home) but will get some store-bought ones to make this. Maybe combine with vodka to make a cocktail?

Guinnah said...

Mindy - from the looks of your garden I think you could make anything grow!

Sam - we bought our mulberry from a specialty nursery because they had the ones that dh remembers from his childhood.

Lynn - haha, love the lemons in the suitcase! And I can confirm that it is very tasty with vodka in it ;-)