Barbara’s Lemon Syrup

Adapted from the book Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry by Barbara Abdeni Massaad. See at the end my variation with honey instead of sugar. See more about this lemonade.


1 kilo (2.2 pounds) lemons, preferably organic
Granulated sugar equal to the weight of the juice extracted from the fruit

Wash and dry the lemons. Zest them carefully, collecting the zest in a sterilized muslin.
When all the lemons are zested, squeeze the muslin very hard, several times and collect the juice in a small sterilized jar. Place the jar in the refrigerator.

Juice the lemons and pass the juice through a sieve, not a very fine one, if you like –Barbara writes that she does not mind the pulp, and neither do I. She points out that the pulp makes ‘a more natural looking and tasting syrup.’

Measure the juice and add an equal amount of sugar.
Now you need to patiently stir for a long time –Barbara notes that it may take a whole day of stirring if you make a large quantity of lemon syrup.
I am not a patient cook, I confess, so I speed things up beating the lemon juice and sugar in the blender or mixer –maybe in batches. A few minutes will complete the work.

Finally add the top, yellow layer from the squeezed zest, and discard the darker, bitter sediment. Work the mixture a few seconds in the blender to incorporate.

Pour the syrup into sterilized bottles, filling to the rim. Seal and place in the refrigerator.
The lemon syrup will keep for a year, but I doubt that it will last you longer than the end of the summer. It is so beautifully refreshing!


Lemon and Thyme Honey Syrup

Substitute thyme honey (see Note) for the sugar.

Use equal amount as the juice or slightly less, if your lemons are not particularly sour.
Work the mixture in the blender and when the honey is fully incorporated into the juice, add the top layer of the zest, work a few more seconds, and pour in bottles as described above.

NOTE: I find that thyme honey is ideal for the lemonade; but I guess sage or heather honey, maybe also lavender honey will work equally well. Each aroma will add a different layer of flavor and aroma to this brilliant lemonade.


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