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The Blender Girl’s Guide to Ginger Mint Lemonade Using Whole Lemons

2011 September 7

You may or may not have noticed that the Top 10 Lists and How To Guides that we were posting each Wednesday went *poof* a little while ago – our busy offline schedules made it very difficult to maintain three weekly features on RecipeRelay so we decided to drop back to focus on our food and drink Relays.  But… since we love sharing information about healthy seasonal food we couldn’t help keeping an eye out for potential special guests!  Enter Tess Masters, aka The Blender Girl, creator of the vegetarian recipe blog Healthy Blender Recipes.  Tess is a passionate whole foods cook and champion (although that may not be a strong enough word) of the mighty blender.  We met her earlier this summer and invited her to do a mini-series for us – fusing seasonal ingredients in her trusty Vitamix (which she travels with by the way!).  Look out for a new Blender Girl post on RecipeRelay on the first Wednesday of each month for the rest of this year.  We hope you enjoy her creativity and her energy as much as we do!

-Sarah & Brianna

Ginger-Mint-LemonadeBy Tess Masters

“When the universe gives you lemons, make lemonade!” I am a fan of this positive philosophy both figuratively and literally. I admit to being a lemonade lover! Well, the homemade gourmet variety. Lemonade aficionados far and wide would agree that there is a vast difference between the commercial sugar-laden colon clogging processed lemonades and those lovingly pressed from whole lemons at home.

I was strolling through my local farmers market looking for inspiration for my first RecipeRelay post, when I picked up some mint and fondly remembered the lemon mint ginger lemonade I made with some friends last Summer. Yes, I am aware that Summer has officially ended. However, if, like me, you live in California, you can be forgiven for believing that Summer will never end. I know those of you on the East Coast will soon be rugging up, but I thought we could all enjoy this zesty mocktail as a refreshing treat to celebrate the last of the warm weather.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

Now, it might be considered cheating a little (or not passing off the baton correctly) in a seasonal relay to recreate a recipe, or worse still, utilize lemons, the most versatile fruit on the planet! If Marc Duquette considers it a “cop out” to grab the lemons from Kat Durant’s Honey In The Rye, what does that make me? Worse still, it would seem that I have picked a recipe that is so bereft of innovation that it is almost embarrassing. But allow me to defend myself by saying that this gourmet lemonade is so fantastic that I couldn’t resist sharing this recipe. It is wonderful example of how my beloved blender turns the simple into the sublime.

I have found that the secret to making frothy rich lemonade is to put a whole lemon into the blender along with freshly squeezed juice, grated ginger, sweetener and water and whirling it into a creamy mix. The zest from the whole lemon adds a strong aromatic citrus essence and the freshly grated ginger adds a special zing that makes this lemonade recipe extraordinary.

I used lemons from my own lemon tree to make this lemonade. I have a fabulous lemon rotation on the windowsill of my kitchen. I start my day off every morning with a glass of lemon water and end my day in much the same way. I can’t get enough of lemons, and luckily, lemons grow almost all-year-round in California. I admit my partiality to Meyer lemons, but alas, the season is over. But any variety of lemon works s’blendedly in this lemonade. Eureka and Lisbon varieties are the most widely cultivated in the United States, and apart from Meyer lemons, most varieties vary only slightly in colour and taste.

No matter which variety of lemon you use to make your lemonade, small round lemons with a rich yellow colour yield the most juice. I also prefer to use the lemons with a thin shiny skin in this lemonade, seeing as we are throwing the whole lemon into the blender. Always scrub the lemons well before using them and juice them fresh at room temperature.

I have always had a penchant for ginger beer, which is why I have chosen ginger to accent this lemonade. For those of you not fond of ginger or its heating affect on the body, this lemonade tastes wonderful without the ginger. I often add a dash of pure rose water in place of the grated ginger and this creates a rose lemonade that tastes phenomenal. Either way, this lemonade is a winner.

Those of you watching your sugar intake could substitute stevia drops for agave in your mix. You can also halve the difference and use a little bit of natural sweetener like agave, honey or yacon syrup, and then accent it with some drops of stevia. Play around and until you the perfect blend.

If you want a lemonade with a real edge, try it this way: blend whole lemons (cut them up and remove the seeds first), then add in some ice and water and garnish with mint and ginger. This tastes like a limoncello mocktail. Check out the video How To Make Lemonade Using The Whole Lemon I did for Chow.  Just know that this lemonade is very different and not for everyone. Most people prefer a more mild home made ginger lemonade recipe which includes some fresh squeezed lemon juice and some whole lemon that strikes a nice balance between sweet and tart. For an extra kick you could always add in some vodka!

I will offer some more quick easy recipes with a bit more heat in the coming months. But in the mean time, enjoy the sunshine!

Ginger Mint Lemonade Using Whole Lemons

Ingredients
  • 1  - 2 whole organic lemons well scrubbed – sliced and seeded
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 1 Tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, or more to taste
  • fresh mint leaves
  • 6 – 8 cups of filtered water.
Directions
  1. Place the agave and lemon juice and heat in a saucepan over low heat until dissolved. Allow to cool.
  2. Place this “syrup” in the blender (I use a Vitamix) with the whole lemon (or lemons depending on your taste preference and the size of your lemons) and freshly grated ginger and blend until frothy.
  3. Stir in the desired amount of water and serve garnished with fresh mint leaves. You could add more freshly grated ginger for an extra punch.

Tess Masters is an actress, presenter, voice over artist, budding cook, enthusiastic story teller, environmental warrior, self-respecting devotee of all things green and natural, and most importantly, a champion of the miraculous blender, mixer, and food processor.

  • Marc

    My Kitchen Aid blender died a month ago–while making a healthy smoothie, I might add.  RIP.  I’ve been considering my next blender purchase and this might just push me over the edge.

  • Sara

    What can I replace the agave
    nectar with? I’m not sure they stock it in my country…. The drink sounds delicious

  • Stephanie

    If you use a Vitamix, why bother seeding the lemons?