A Tale of Two Lemons; How to Make Fresh Lemonade

by formerchef on April 19, 2009

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Yesterday I came in from the garden to find my husband juicing lemons. He said he was going to make lemonade. “Really?” I said, dubious. Then I proceeded to barge my way in on the whole process in order to turn it into a blog post. We had two different types of lemons and I thought (or was it he thought? No matter, can’t remember…) it would be interesting to compare the two.

dsc_4531a Meyer lemon on left, Eureka lemon on right.

We have an ancient Meyer Lemon tree which just this year gave us a bounty of lemons like we’ve never seen in the 9 years we’ve lived here. Funny what a little extra water will do for a tree.
Meyer lemons have thin skins and a sweet, almost orange-like flavor. These lemons were extra ripe and had been sitting in the bowl for a while so I was happy D was motivated to juice them.
In addition, a friend had given D a big bag of Eureka lemons which have a very thick skin and pale yellow color. They are also more acidic than the Meyer. I was certain they would take a lot more sugar than the Meyers.

One of the best ways to make lemonade is to make a simple syrup first, mixing one part sugar and one part water in a pot, bring to a simmer until the sugar dissolves. If you just add sugar to cold water and lemon juice it’s unlikely to dissolve completely. I don’t know if he was planning on making a syrup in his version of lemonade, but once I barged in, he left that part to me.

He juiced. I made the syrup. We collaborated. We tasted. We tested. The kitchen was sticky with lemon juice and syrup but in the end it was worth it. We had fresh lemonade which cost pennies to make, wasn’t loaded with high fructose corn syrup and used a “recycled” container (our plastic juice pitcher). And it was fun!

My mother came over and we all tasted both lemonades. The Eureka lemonade was voted “more refreshing” and “more traditional” by two to one. I preferred the Meyer lemonade. Surprisingly, the Eureka lemons only needed about 1/2 cup more syrup than the Meyer, but it was still a more acidic lemonade.

Ultimately, we mixed the two together and wound up with about a gallon of wonderful lemonade.

Simple Syrup

2 cups water
2 cups sugar

Heat in a pot until sugar dissolves. Yields 3 cups syrup.

Meyer Lemonade

1.5 cups Simple Syrup
2 cups Meyer Lemon Juice
4 Cups water

Eureka Lemonade

2 cups Simple Syrup
2 cups Eureka Lemon Juice
4 Cups water

Obviously, taste in lemonade is a personal preference. If you want it sweeter, add more syrup. If you want it weaker, add more water, etc.

1 Erika - In Erika's Kitchen September 6, 2010 at 8:42 am

I also have both a prolific Meyer lemon tree and a Eureka lemon tree. We always use the Meyers for lemonade – but you’re right, it doesn’t taste like the lemonade people are expecting (I think that’s why most people choose the Eureka flavor in taste tests – that’s happened in my house too).

2 James Sklar September 6, 2010 at 10:41 am

Try a few drops of stevia instead of using the sugary and cloying simple syrup. Healthier and more delicious!

3 KarinSDCA July 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm

We are embarking on homemade lemonade right now. Thanks for your testing work and recipe! We have both Meyer lemons and Eureka lemons, as well. We are going to mix them from the get-go for a pool party tomorrow. My husband is making the simple syrup now and my daughter washed the lemons and is rolling them (to get more juice, you want “warm” lemons and rolling helps obtain more juice; I learned this from making lemon curd). I’ll be cutting and we’ll all be juicing. Fun family evening!

4 Vlc46 August 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

Tried this recipe with Splenda sugar blend.. Came out terrific. Reminds me of the lemonade we got on the boardwalk at the beach. The simple syrup is definitely the key.

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