Lemon-zest Ade with Szechuan Pepper
In the Upper Midwest of this hemisphere we’ve had a lovely reprieve with mild temperatures this week, but the mercury will be rising soon and we know many of you south of us are scorching. Time for a little refreshing break. This is an easy lemonade utilizing the best part of the lemon—the oils in the peel. Make a simple syrup and voilá, you have a concentrate for quick beverage assembly.
Adding Szechuan pepper to a drink….when will the weirdness end?? Also known as Chinese Prickly Ash, Szechuan pepper is not in the pepper family and it adds a lovely tart and tingling sensation without making it actually spicy. Plus you already bought some for the Don Don Noodles and have been wondering what to do with the rest of the bag, so here’s a solution.
Instead of using a zester I just sliced the outer layer of the lemon of the skin with a knife, it seemed the best way to get the greatest amount of volatile oils from the skin. Limonene is the main compound of the oil in the skin and it’s the cause of all the aromatic goodness we love about citrus. Love that Limonene!
Lemon-Zest Ade with Szechuan Pepper
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Make a simple syrup by heating in a sauce pan:
1 cup Water
Zest or shaved skin from 2 Lemons
Juice from 2 Lemons
1/3 cup Sugar or Honey (or more if you like)
3/4 teaspoon Szechuan Pepper
(Optional) Pinch of Sea Salt—this may help replace electrolytes on a hot day
Simmer 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar or honey.
Remove from heat and let steep another 10-15 minutes, then strain.
Mix equal amounts:
Simple syrup and
Chill, or pour over ice. If available, garnish with:
Sprigs of fresh Spearmint
Looking for more summer drink ideas? Heidi Swanson with 101 Cookbooks just posted a list of her past beverage posts and there are some rockin’ good options! Not to mention her exquisite photography.
And a couple more from the Season of Rainbows…through the windshield.