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The Muddling Technique For State-Fair Worthy Lemonade

Lemonade pitcher, glass, lemons, and ice on an outdoor table
Lemonade pitcher, glass, lemons, and ice on an outdoor table - Davizro/Getty Images

It's easy to assume that fairground lemonade vendors are mixing up huge vats of lemon-flavored powders and selling them as "lemonade" regardless of whether there's actual lemon juice involved. After all, stirring a premade lemon-flavored powder with water is quick, easy, and affordable for busy vendors serving endless lines of thirsty fair attendees. And on a hot summer day at a fun and friendly state fair, does it really matter?

But a lot of people do care, especially given the string of artificial ingredients comprising a powdered glass of lemonade. We're therefore happy to say that more fairground food vendors than you imagine are actually selling the real thing. That's right: We're talking real lemonade from real lemons grown on real trees, in fresh form, not even from frozen concentrates. That's the state-fair lemonade of your dreams, and those true-blue lemonade creators have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Fortunately, Elizabeth Williams, aka @lemonadeliz on Instagram, freely shares her recipe and techniques for making fresh lemonade from three simple ingredients: fresh lemons, sugar, and water. With a prolific social media presence and monikers such as Liz Loves Lemonade, she's a true lemonade expert with podcasts, reels, a Squeeze the Day lemonade truck, and a Lemonade University teaching others how to make a living with genuine real-deal lemonade. She's sold multiple thousands of lemonades using her fair-style "smash lemons" method, so it's a technique worth considering. It involves muddling the lemons rather than simply squeezing them -- and there's an art to it.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

How To Muddle Lemons Into Lemonade

Hand holding a plastic container while muddling lemons and sugar
Hand holding a plastic container while muddling lemons and sugar - lemonadeliz/Instagram

Okay, state-fair lovers, here's how fair-worthy lemonade comes to life using Elizabeth Williams' muddling technique. First, you need a large fresh lemon cut into quarters and placed inside a 32-ounce container with a lid, which you'll use later. It's important that the lids don't have holes, such as ones designed for straws. You can typically find these at big-box wholesalers like Costco or through online restaurant supply companies. That's going to be important when it comes time for some shaking.

If all you have are lidded cups with straw holes, you can still make this lemonade, albeit with stirring rather than the much-more-fun and thorough shaking step. Pour about ¼ cup of granulated sugar over the cut lemons, more or less to taste, leaving the peels intact. Now, muddle the lemons and sugar together using a muddling tool. Some quick smashing is fine; there's no need to pulverize the poor lemons to death. Finally, toss in roughly a cup of ice and 2 cups of water, close the lid, shake to your heart's content, and get ready for some sweet fair-style lemonade sipping - or slurping.

This technique works so well because it squeezes fresh juice and zest from the lemons, infusing the drink with real fruit essence. If you prefer pink lemonade, it's easy to achieve that naturally with juices and fresh fruit. Ideas range from slipping in some watermelon or cranberry juice to using smashed red raspberries or strawberries that have soaked overnight in sugar and lemon juice. You can also use natural beet juice with this Tasting Table natural pink lemonade recipe.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.