During the winter months, I love to curl up on the couch with a big mug of hot chocolate. I always crave a little something sweet after dinner, but try not to have any heavy desserts on weekdays since I have a hard time resisting snacking on treats at work like those crazy addicting Trader Joe-Joe’s Vanilla Sandwich Crème Cookies. Sometimes I enjoy a bowl of sugary cereal instead, but during the summer, it’s all about a tall refreshing glass of lemonade. There are so many delicious kinds available now – mango, strawberry, pomegranate, mmm. I recently had one that tops all the others. It was a delightful cherry lemonade that I picked up on a whim because it was on sale at Whole Foods.
We really only shop at Whole Foods when I need an ingredient that I can’t find anywhere else though (in this case I needed ground chicken), so to get my fix, I decided to make a batch of cherry lemonade at home. Fresh lemon juice, sweet cherries, and sugar are all you need. I even kicked it up a notch by making ice cubes that each contained a cherry in the center and stirring in some lemon slices!
5 cups water, divided
4 cups pitted sweet cherries (24 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice (I used 4 huge lemons)
12 pitted cherries
1 lemon, sliced
Place 2 cups water, cherries, and sugar in a large pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour, then pulse in a food processor or blender for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Strain with a sieve into a large pitcher, if needed (I used my Vitamix, so I didn’t have much pulp, but I’m sure I would have needed to strain it if I had used my food processor). Stir in lemon juice and remaining 3 cups water and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or until well chilled.
Meanwhile, to make the garnish, place 1 pitted cherry in each well of an ice cube try and fill with water. Place in the freezer until the ice cubes are set, about 2 hours. Stir ice cubes and sliced lemon into the chilled cherry lemonade and serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition: 150 calories, 0.1g fat, 1.6g fiber, 0.9g protein per serving
Cost: $0.69 per serving