I have a love-hate relationship with summer. I hate the heat (tell me you like 105+ with a straight face). I love the fringe benefits that come with having heat to deal with.
Summer simply forces you to slow down. You can’t hustle and bustle when the scorching sun is overhead. As much as I love being in my garden, I get an excuse not to go out and pull weeds when it’s hot (I often do anyway, but oh well). Housecleaning and cooking get ignored, because running the AC gets spendy and who wants to work up a sweat inside, anyway? You might call these excuses, and I would call you correct.
Instead, I start looking for ways to cope with the summer’s triple digits. Cold drinks cool the core and soothe the hot soul. Cold drinks that also taste of summer, but in a really good way, work even better.
Sure, you could make something with some powder out of a can. But why cheat yourself? Real strawberries, with real lemon and lime juice, and real sugar. Hey, it’s got real fruit, doesn’t that make it healthy? No? Oh well. Tough. Make it anyway.
Strawberry Lemon-Limeade Recipe
Put the sugar in a 1 gallon beverage container and add the salt, if using. Heat two cups of water until very hot (3-4 minutes in a microwave ought to do it). Add the hot water to the sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Fill a 4 cup measuring cup with ice up to the 4 cup line, then add water almost to the 4 cup line. Add the ice water to the sugar water. Stir until the ice is melted. Add more ice to measuring cup up to the 2 cup line this time, and then add water to the 4 cup line. Add this to the sugar water and stir. The total amount of water added to the sugar (including the ice) should be about 10 cups.
Puree the strawberries until they are completely smooth. Add the puree to the sugar water. Add the lemon juice, lime juice, and a 1/2 cup cold water to the container the strawberries were pureed in and swirl it all around to scoop up the last bits of strawberry goo. Add that to the mixture. Stir all the ingredients together until well combined and all ice is melted. Adjust the sweetness if desired.
Okay, now for the hard part. Really, you want to let this sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. That will help it chill and for the flavors to fully come out. I know. I didn’t wait, either.