Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade

Lemonade is to summertime as hot chocolate is to winter...and it's lemonade time again!

I discovered a lemonade recipe last summer on that can be found here. But, of course, I can't leave it alone.

My older girls are at a point where they are trusted to cook, and enjoy it most of the time (we need to work on the cleaning up part!), and I love incorporating our learning in cooking- because cooking is fascinating and is done daily. So, this month strawberry lemonade has become a weekly routine for us.

This is what you need:

1-3/4 cups sugar
8 cups water
5 or six ripe strawberries, tops cut off
1-1/2 cups lemon juice
large pitcher

1. Combine sugar and one cup water in a small saucepan. Heat stove to medium-high and boil in order to dissolve sugar.
We are creating a solution by combining two substances: 1)water (solvent), 2) sugar (solute). They start out as very different in taste and appearance, but as they mix together, they become one homogeneous mixture. If you like, carefully spoon out a small portion and let it cool to observe this mixture.
Sugar dissolves faster when the temperature is hot and when you stir the solution.
2. When the sugar is dissolved, turn heat to medium-low and add the strawberries to the solution. Let simmer for about five minutes, allowing strawberries to become tender.

You will notice that the clear solution will turn pink or red. You can help extract the coloring from the strawberries by taking the tip of a beater or a potato masher and mashing them. When you are satisfied with the color of solution, turn off the stove, remove from burner, and let cool.

My favorite part about this experiment is to learn ways to naturally color food. This is typically healthier, but it also is informative for young chefs, and it helps us understand how foods were colored before we started using artificial colorings. 
3. While the solution is cooling, cut lemons in half and squeeze out the lemon juice. It took us approximately six lemons to make 1-1/2 cups juice. How many tablespoons of juice is that per lemon? If you do not have fresh lemons, bottled lemon juice will work fine. Also, lime juice can be substituted.

 4. In a large pitcher or jar, pour lemon juice and 7 cups water. Try tasting this mixture before adding the sugar solution. What does it taste like?

5. Strain the sugar/strawberry solution so to remove strawberries and seeds.

6. Add to the lemon juice mixture. How has the appearance and taste changed? What color is the drink? Why do you think it has turned this color?

Here are some more observation questions:
Lemonade is typically a mixture of sweet and sour. What part of your tongue can taste these tastes?
What other foods could you use to color lemonade?
Do you like the lemonade with strawberries, or would you rather leave them out next time?
Is there anything else that you would do differently?
Look at the sauce pan after it has cooled. Do you notice anything on the sides? Why do you think that happens?

We like the solid form of lemonade- so we pour some into ice cube trays and make lemonade pops. Can you think of any other way to serve this drink?

After it's all said and's here to enjoy! Here's to a great summer!

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