The Rising Spoon: Raw Honey Lemonade with Blueberry Ice Cubes

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Raw Honey Lemonade with Blueberry Ice Cubes


Yesterday was the first day of spring. I know some parts of the country are still receiving snow, but it has warmed up significantly here in Dallas. 

Trees with fragrant white and purple blossoms are growing inside our apartment complex and down by the lake. 

I've spotted loads of bees (YAY—that's a good sign) and even a hummingbird. 

Cool Drinks For Warm Weather

With that in mind I thought I'd get a jump on the impending heat wave and discuss everyone's favorite non-alcoholic warm weather beverage: lemonade. 

Aside from iced tea, beer, sangria, margaritas, bourbon cocktails, vodka cocktails and mojitos...<ahem> lemonade is one of my favorite icy drinks. 

However, I have one problem. I can no longer drink uber sweet beverages like when I was a teenager. 

I used to love sweet tea. 

Can't stand it now. Tastes sickly sweet to me. 

I'm sure this is because I've deliberately weened myself off sugar the past eight years or so. And it worked. The less sugar you consume, the less you crave it. 

Don't get me wrong...I still enjoy sweet things...just foods or drinks with natural sweeteners or waaaaaay less sugar. 


Make it at Home to Control the Sweetness

So I've developed an alternative. Make it at home with a natural sweetener like raw honey. That way I can adjust the level of sweetness myself while also benefiting from the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, anti-fungal properties in raw honey. 

Why raw honey versus "regular" honey? Well, regular honey is filtered and heated to such a high temperature that it kills off all the natural goodness the bees leave in it. That makes it no better than sugar or corn syrup. Well, maybe better than corn syrup, but only by a small margin. 

So do yourself a favor and look for "raw" on the label next time you buy honey. It's more expensive, but worth it. Do this and it'll ensure that when you sweeten foods and drinks you'll enjoy additional health benefits as well as the sweet taste. That's a win/win in my book. No nutrients in regular sugar!

Want to learn more about raw honey? Read here, here and here. And try to buy local, if possible. That way you're consuming honey made by bees near you. This may provide immunities against local allergens! Couldn't hurt right? 

Oh, and one last thing...I surmise this would make a REALLY great cocktail. Stick to the directions then simply pour a jigger or two of your favorite liquor in at the end. I think it'd be stellar with whiskey or vodka, personally. ;)

{Edit: I just received a comment on Pinterest from a user who wanted to point out that because this drink recipe contains honey, it is not vegan. As I am not vegan myself, I did a bit of digging and saw that it's actually a hotly debated topic! If you're in the camp that considers honey a no-no for vegan diets, I recommend substituting real maple syrup or vegan cane sugar.}

Raw Honey Lemonade with Blueberry Ice Cubes
A tall glass of lemonade made with fresh lemon juice and purified water, then naturally sweetened with raw, local honey. Organic blueberries frozen in ice cubes tint the lemonade pink, sweeten the lemonade slightly and provide a healthy, fibrous snack once they've melted! 
| Original Recipe & Photograph by The Rising Spoon | © Elaina Newton 2013 Serves: 1

Ingredients
Juice from 2 lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2+ tablespoons of raw honey (unfiltered & unheated)
8-10 ounces of purified room temperature water (I use reverse osmosis)
6 organic blueberry ice cubes (add more or less depending on the cube size)

Recommended Equipment
biodegradable paper straws (optional)

Want more real food & gadget recommendations? Check out my shop page

Directions

For the blueberry ice cubes:
Earlier in the day or the night before, drop some frozen or fresh blueberries (organic is best because blueberries are on the dirty dozen list) into an ice cube tray and fill with purified water. I put three or four blueberries into each cube. Freeze until solid. 

For the lemonade:  Roll out two lemons with the palm of your hand to redistribute the juices. Slice each in half and squeeze into your glass, making sure to catch the seeds. Measure in the honey (add more if you like it sweeter, less if you like it more tart) and stir until it's all dissolved. If your honey is solid or crystallized, this may take a minute or so, but it works. 

DO NOT HEAT IT. This will kill all benefits of the raw honey. Pour in the purified water and taste. If necessary, add more honey. Drop in the blueberry ice cubes, stir and drink! Once you've finished off the lemonade, you can munch on the blueberry cubes or if they've melted, eat the blueberries whole.

Notes & Tips
The ratio of water, lemon juice and honey in this recipe suits my taste for less sweet drinks. Make sure to add more honey or water if it's too tart for you! 

Feel free to increase the ingredients if you're making a large batch, just be sure to keep the ratios the same. Or, simply taste it after measuring. It's not hard to fix lemonade. You can generally always add more lemon juice, water or sweetener. 

If you dislike blueberries, feel free to substitute another fruit. Sliced organic strawberries, raspberries or peaches would be perfect. 

Try throwing in fresh herbs like mint or basil into the blueberry cubes before freezing for extra flavor. 

Real Food Resources

Real Food Survival Guide For Busy Moms

"This e-book is perfect for busy folks who need help maximizing their time in the kitchen so they can fix nutritious, real food snacks and meals to eat at home and on the go. In addition to realistic advice, this book provides recipes for real food staples you can make in bulk ahead of time, which ensures you always have nutrient dense foods at hand. And it’s especially helpful if you’re interested in implementing homemade fermented foods into your diet."

From Scratch: Easy Recipes for Traditionally Prepared Whole-Food Dishes 

"If you're looking for a cookbook that is as entertaining as it is delicious, then look no further. From Scratch is a breath of fresh air when it comes to learning how to traditionally prepare and cook nutritious food. Shaye does not disappoint in her recipes and this cookbook reads like a letter from a close friend. These meals are easily prepared and yes, easily devoured."  

I'd like to hear from YOU! What's your favorite food to pair with lemonade? 

Answer in the comments section below or join the conversation on The Rising Spoon Facebook page. Prefer Twitter? And feel free to circle me on Google Plus or follow me on Pinterest.

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This post is also linked to Party Wave Wednesday.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I ONLY recommend helpful products that I myself would use. And I'm really picky about what I share with you guys. Because I myself am super choosy about what I buy and consume. Recommending products that I love or want to own helps me cover the costs of running this blog and keep providing you with free, helpful information. And it costs nothing extra for you. Thanks! 

About Elaina Newton
Elaina is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter.

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