Sparkling Berry Lemonade

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This summer has been a whirlwind. Between coming down with mono and tonsillitis, spending a month recovering and then jumping right into wedding season, I’ve hardly had a chance to think too terribly much about which dishes are inspiring me for summer. All of a sudden it was 4th of July and I was trying to figure out what the heck to make for our family potluck. Thinking you all might have found yourselves in the same unfortunate position, I decided it was high time I get my butt in gear and post three of my favorite recipes from the summer so far.

The key has been keeping things simple as I haven’t had a ton of time or extra energy to spend on complicated plates. The first of my three favorites is this delicious, made-from-scratch, strawberry lemonade. The perfect cure to this nutty heat wave we’ve been having.

Strawberry season has come and gone here in Oregon and we are well into the other berries, but if you’re like me and stashed a large amount of the sweet reds in your freezer, you’ll be good to go for this gorgeous beverage. I actually made this for one of the weddings I catered a few weeks ago but not much of it was consumed, so I took it to the leftovers party we had a few days after. It was a hit! Here’s the recipe, and in case you didn’t stock up on strawberries, I’m guessing one or all of the late summer berries would produce equally delightful results.

Summer Picnic Foods | Bird is the Word (1 of 20)

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
Author: Adapted from Emeril.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 cups cold sparkling water or club soda
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon peel and lemon juice, stir, and remove from the heat. Let cool completely, then strain into a clean pitcher.
  2. In a food processor, puree* the pint of strawberries and add to the pitcher with the lemon juice. Stir well to combine and refrigerate until well chilled.
  3. Add the sparkling water and stir well.
  4. *If you aren’t into “pulpy” lemonade, you can strain out the strawberry chunks.

Stay tuned for two more summer potluck recipes coming next week!