When my oldest was a baby, he and I would occasionally have lunch at Red Robin with some other moms and babies. When we eat there I always order their amazing strawberry lemonade. If you’ve never had it before it is lemonade with chucks of strawberries in syrup stirred in. I often drank so much of this delicious lemonade that I was mostly full by the time our food came. A couple of summers ago I was craving that strawberry lemonade from Red Robin so I thought I would try to make a healthier version to enjoy at home. I based it off of my mom’s basic lemonade recipe. She used a simple recipe of one cup of sugar, juice of one lemon, and juice of two oranges added to the pitcher of water. I knew I didn’t want to have that much sugar and really wanted to get the benefit of the whole orange so this is the recipe that I came up with. It has become one of my family’s favorite beverages and our go to for serving guests.
As I post this, it is February and some of you may be questioning my timing in posting a “summer” beverage. Though I agree that a cold glass of lemonade is an amazingly refreshing summertime drink, this drink can be perfect for January, February, March as well! This is the time when citrus trees start giving us fresh fruit in AZ and one of the even greater benefits is the vitamin-C to help boost our winter immunity. Most of us know that of oranges are high in vitamin-C, but keeping that white pith on and adding strawberries (which are even higher in vitamin-C)…now you have some great immunity boosting power!
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- Juice of one lemon (about 2 ounces juice)
- 8 frozen strawberries
- 1 whole orange, peeled with white outer layer and pith left on
- 1/3 cup agave nectar (adjust to taste)
- 1 or more cups of ice
- Prep time: less than 5 minutes
- Cook time: 1 minute
- Servings: 8
- Difficulty: easy
I make this drink in our Vitamix, you may need to make some adjustments if you are using another type of blender.
Start by peeling the orange, trying to keep as much as the white outer layer as possible. This small part of the orange not only has almost as much Vitamin-C as the rest of the orange but also contains other phytonutrients that give us many health benefits including helping our bodies to absorb and utilize the vitamin-C better.
I use an orange peeler such as the $1 one pictured from The Pampered Chef or my favorite more sturdy one from Tupperware. I feel that I am able to easily retain more of the white when I use one of these peelers (if you are skilled at using a knife to peel and orange that works as well). You start by using the hook end to cut into the peel all the way around the equator of the orange. Next you use the thin end to separate the outer peel from the flesh being careful to retain as much of the white as possible.
Next you juice your lemon. I have used many different methods to juice the lemon from simply squeezing with my hand to using the citrus press shown here. I had wanted to get a press like this for a while but didn't think I really needed to spend the money on it. Then my sister's mother-in-law surprised me with one for Christmas! I was amazed at how it simplified my lemonade process. It is so simple to use, easy to clean, and gets the more juice than any other method I've used.
Now it's time to put all the ingredients in the Vitamix. I put the whole orange, lemon juice (pressed right in to the container), then frozen strawberries. If you like chunks of strawberry, save 1-3 of them to add in at the end.
Next add the agave nectar. You can adjust this to your taste. If you or your kids are used to things more sweet, you can start with a little more and gradually reduced it each time you make it to slowly adjust your need for sweet.
Then add the ice. This too can be adjusted. With a Vitamix, you can add a lot of ice to make this more of a summer slushy drink or just one scoop to keep it cold during the blending process.
Once you get the amount of ice you want, then simply add the water to the 7 cup measurement line. Keep in mind this is NOT 7 cups of water it is 7 cups with all ingredients.
Now to blend! Blend for about one minute starting with the Vitamix on low variable and working up to high-speed. This process breaks up the seeds and pulp to make a smooth drink texture. Then if you reserved any strawberries for a chunkier drink, turn the Vitamix to variable level 3 or 4 and drop the strawberries in. This works even better if these strawberries are slightly thawed.
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