With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start of summer, my palate has shifted. Despite the slim choices at last weekend’s farmers market, I am craving refreshing fruit-filled dishes. Here in Chicago, it is still too early for a bountiful harvest, but a couple hotter than average May days were just the excuse to whip up a pitcher of lemonade.
Instead of a classic version, I made a couple changes that toned down the tartness. Meyer lemons, a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange, combined with pureed strawberries, gave the bright pink beverage a sweet rather than sour flavor. I served the strawberry lemonade in appropriately summery botanical print tumblers.
1 cup granulated sugar
4-1/2 cups water
1 cup Meyer lemon juice, about 10 lemons and zest of 2 lemons in strips
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
Combine the sugar, 1 cup water and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove the lemon zest and transfer the syrup to a container to cool to room temperature.
Puree the strawberries in a blender with 1/2 cup water. Strain the puree and transfer to a pitcher. Add the sugar syrup, lemon juice and remaining water.
Chill the lemonade in the refrigerator and serve over ice