"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge
the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." ~Proverbs 24:3-4

Not Just For Kids

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

I love lemonade! It’s my favorite beverage. Lemonade is like a taste of summer all year round. It’s delicious and refreshing. Lemonade is better for you than carbonated and caffeinated beverages. It tastes just as sweet and lemony whether it’s ice cold or at room temperature. I can’t think of another drink that’s equally suitable for everyday drinking, taking on picnics and hikes, and for serving at special occasions.

The fascinating history of the lemon is like a journey over land and time, from its origins in Asia to its reign in the Mediterranean, and across the ocean to the Americas. Today, lemon trees grow in subtropical climates all over the world. The leading commercial lemon producers are Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Argentina, and the United States.

Lemons are native to southern China, India, and Southeast Asia where they have been cultivated for up to 4,000 years. The ancient Greeks wrote about the lemon. The Romans depicted lemons on murals. Arab traders in Asia carried lemons to eastern Africa and the Middle East between 100-700 AD. The earliest written evidence of lemonade comes from medieval Egypt.

During the Arab occupation of Spain, lemons were introduced to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, where lemon groves flourished beginning in the 8th or 9th centuries. Christopher Columbus and other explorers carried lemons to the New World. Lemons were well known in Florida by the 16th century, having been planted by Spanish colonists there.

In the mid-17th century, the first lemonade soft drink appeared in Paris, France. It was made from sparkling water and lemon juice sweetened with honey. Since August 20, 1630, is supposedly the day this soft drink was invented, August 20 is now known as Lemonade Day. In 1676, the Compagnie de Limonadiers were granted a monopoly for the sale of their lemonade. Vendors carried tanks of lemonade on their backs and dispensed cups of the soft drink to thirsty Parisians.

In 1742, British naval commander James Lind found that scurvy could be prevented as well as treated by consuming citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin C. Following an especially long journey with many fatalities due to the disease, Lind described miracle cures from drinking high doses of lemon juice. Captain James Cook had the same experience with lime juice on his round-the-world voyages between 1768 and 1779. However, their discoveries were largely ignored until the 19th century.

The demand for lemons increased greatly in the 1800’s after the advice of these two men was finally put into widespread practice. Lemonade became a popular beverage during the Victorian era along with tea and root beer. Florida was a major lemon producer until the devastating freeze of 1894 and 1895 destroyed most of Florida’s lemon trees. Abandoning commercial lemon culture in Florida, the U.S. lemon industry moved to southern and central California, with some lemons cultivated in Arizona as well. Peak demand for lemons occurs in summer, for lemonade and other drinks.

In American pioneer days, lemonade would have been hard to come by out on the prairie. In her book entitled On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder recalled the first time she had some. “‘Is your lemonade sweet enough?’ Mrs. Oleson asked. So Laura knew that it was lemonade in the glasses. She had never tasted anything like it.”

In the movie Gods and Generals, General Stonewall Jackson likes lemonade, but not too sweet. According to legend, the real Stonewall Jackson sucked on lemons in the belief that it was essential to his health. Lemonade was also featured in The Sound of Music. Uncle Max drank pink lemon- ade with the baroness out on the terrace. “Not too sweet, not too sour,” said Max. “Just too pink!”

Did You Know…? The Israeli army puts lemon juice in their water. This keeps them from getting dehydrated, because it makes them want to drink more!

Frozen Lemon Juice

If you have too many lemons to use right away, squeeze the lemons and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Put the cubes in a Ziploc bag (to keep them from dehydrating) and store them in the freezer. Fresh squeezed, even frozen, is better than that little plastic bottle from the store. Even my 9-year- old son prefers the juice of fresh picked lemons, with the natural pulp of the fruit left in it, to store-bought lemonade. Four cubes are about equal to the juice of one average-sized lemon. You can also freeze the juice in 1 or 2 cup containers for ease of use in making lemonade later. Lemon juice deteriorates rather quickly in the fridge, but when frozen it will keep for a year.

Harry's Lemonade Recipe (from Cyberchase for Real)

Harry's lemonade is the best, made from a secret recipe handed down from his grandmother, and he decides to use it to impress his friend Jennifer. He invites her over and makes just the right amount for two. Unfortunately, Jennifer brings her sister, her sister brings her boyfriend, and her boyfriend brings his cousins. Can Harry divide his lemonade-for-two between eight people ... and still have enough left for romance?

½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup sugar
3½ cups water

Stir well and enjoy!

Teri's Lemonade Recipe

1 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
6 cups water

I mix this in a half gallon (8 cup/ 64 fl. oz.) container. It's a little less sugary than the above recipe.

Did You Know…?If you’re in New Zealand or Ireland and you order a lemonade, you might just get a drink like Sprite®.


Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand, by Liz Scott. (The touching true story of a little girl named Alexandra Alex Scott. Battling pediatric cancer, four-year-old Alex decided to open a lemonade stand in her front yard, with the proceeds going to her hospital. This story tells how the “Little Lemonade Girl” inspired a nation.)

Lemonade Sun: And Other Summer Poems, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. (Impressionistic illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist capture the refreshing imagery of an old-fashioned carefree summer.)

The Lemonade War (The Lemonade War Series), by Jacqueline Davis. (A brother and sister each start a lemonade stand and spend their summer vacation in fierce competition, battling each other to sell the most lemonade.)

Lemons: Growing, Cooking, Crafting, by Kate Chynoweth. (If you love lemons, you will like this book. It tells about the history of the fruit, different types of lemons, gardening tips, recipes, craft and gift ideas – with instructions for making such items as Lemon Lip Balm, Lemon Pomanders, and Lemon Cough Syrup.)

Lemon Magic: 200 Beauty and Household Uses for Lemons and Lemon Juice, by Patty Moosbrugger. (If life gives you lemons, make good use of them. This book contains hundreds of ways to save time and money by making the most of those lemons or that bottle of lemon juice sitting in your refrigerator. Lemon Magic also features a brief history of the lemon, advice on how to choose the best lemons, and recipes using lemons and lemon juice.)


http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/5255/ (101 reasons to drink lemonade, lemonade poems, a lemonade cookbook, and much more. Includes recipes for more than 20 different types of lemonade. Also look for lemonade slushies and lemonade cake! NOTE: My favorite lemonade site is no longer available but I've provided the link to where it has been preserved in the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.)

www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.cfm?lesson=EM369 (Lemon Squeeze – an online economics game and lemonade lesson. Read “The Lemon Story,” take a lemonade taste test, read a play called “Max’s Lemonade Stand Dilemma,” and try out the Lemon Puzzler.)

www.lemonadestandgame.com (Lemonade Stand Game – open your own business and gain experience with pricing, quality control, inventory, and purchasing supplies. Learn what makes a satisfied customer, but beware of the weather which can be unpredictable!)

http://www.download-free-games.com/simulation/lemonade_tycoon.htm (Lemonade Tycoon – A business simulation game that teaches the basics of supply and demand, marketing and spending. Create recipes, produce a high quality product, advertise effectively, hire employees, give great customer service, move to the best locations, buy new equipment, and try to make a big profit.)

"When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade, make life take the lemons back!" ~Cave Johnson


These pages are a continuous work in progress.
Copyright © 2000- by Teri Ann Berg Olsen
All rights reserved.

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