We just got back from a HOT weekend in the desert — easily 110 degrees in the shade. Such weather calls for lemonade, and lots of it! I’m calling this twist on a hot-weather classic “Lemonade With Benefits” because it brings a healthy dose of garden-fresh greens to a classic summer treat. No one has to know this lemonade is spiked with kale, spinach, etc. — they’ll see the bright and beautiful green color, but all they’ll taste is lemon, bright sugar, and a hint of mint! Here’s how it’s (quickly and easily) done:
Lemonade “With Benefits”
Toss into high speed blender (i.e. Vitamix):
6 tbsp. lemon juice (approximately 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup young, tender leaves of kale, spinach, or chard
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
Handful of mint leaves
Fill blender to 4 cups line with ice. Add water until level reaches 5 cups.
Blend on high speed until all ingredients are thoroughly blended, and enjoy. Makes 5 cups of ice cold, sweet/tart, green lemonade!
A few notes. The ice is crucial in this recipe. It provides grit to help break down the greenery into drinkable, not-the-least-bit noticeable bits. Also, a powerful blender (I use a Vitamix) is key. It breaks the sugar down so thoroughly, there’s no need to make a simple syrup, as would be required in a standard lemonade recipe. Finally, don’t skip the mint, unless you want to taste the vegetables in your lemonade. Which would be pretty hard-core.
You can try other sweeteners in place of the sugar. For me, the clean, bright, old-fashioned flavor of sugar is unbeatable. Stevia would be an interesting substitute (homegrown stevia would be a dream!) Also, feel free to reduce or increase the amount of sugar to suit your taste.
Lemonade with benefits! Enjoy! (Oh and enjoying watching even vegetable-averse kids drink up kale, spinach and chard with green-tinged smiles on their face — I know I do!)