How To Majorly Upgrade Your Lemonade

Who doesn't like a tall, chilled glass of lemonade on a hot summer day? That sour, tangy flavor combined with the sweet taste of sugar is almost impossible to resist. 

Fresh lemons are more than just flavorful, they provide a range of health benefits including heart health support and anemia protection, per Healthline. Just don't drink too much lemonade; the high sugar and acid content can do a number on your teeth.

Another great thing about lemonade is that there are so many ways to prepare it. Freshly squeezed, powdered mix, pink lemonade, lavender-infused, or a classic Arnold Palmer — the list goes on and on. Even if you prefer a classic lemonade recipe using real lemons, there are many ways to give it a boost. Here are a couple of lemonade tricks you may not have tried yet that are sure to make it a hit at your next summer cookout or lemonade stand.

Add a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor

If you've ever had a cocktail, you already know how adding salt can improve the overall flavor of the drink. If you haven't, you probably made a face after reading that tip because you've never thought to add salt to a beverage. Some people even add peanuts to their Coke. But salt is one thing you should always add to your homemade lemonade.

But consider the sweet-and-salty combo in candies like Snickers, Reese's, and Payday. It's pretty good, right (unless, of course, you're allergic to peanuts)? So it makes sense that the same combination would work in a beverage, too, and remember, we're just talking about "a pinch." 

Think about all the foods that taste better with added salt: avocados, macaroni and cheese, French fries, etc. Salt is needed to enhance the natural flavor of food, but it can also "enhance the sweetness of sugary items." When added to lemonade, which of course is sour from the lemons, salt can also weaken the acidic taste. Enhancing sweetness while neutralizing the bitterness? It's a perfect balance!

Add berries, oranges or another type of fruit

If you haven't had strawberry lemonade yet, you're definitely missing out. Try slicing a few ripe strawberries and adding them to your next pitcher of lemonade for an added sweet-and-slightly-sour flavor. You can also slice a few strawberries vertically, about halfway through, for use as a garnish for the drinking glass.

Another fruit to consider adding to your lemonade are blueberries. These sweet, juicy, tart berries will complement the sour taste of the lemons, making it a tasty combination.

Next up? Cucumbers. While they are classified as vegetables from a culinary perspective, and they have a moderately sweet vegetable taste, cucumbers are considered fruits botanically because they contain seeds. They can provide a cool, refreshing complement to the lemons in your lemonade.

Just as with lemons, strawberries, blueberries, and cucumbers are packed with health benefits that are worth considering. To name a few, strawberries and blueberries can lower your blood pressure, protect your body from certain diseases, and support heart health. Cucumbers can support skin, bone, and heart health and help fight diabetes.

Of course, there are many other fruits you can try, too. Raspberries, kiwi, orange, apples, etc. Heck, why not add several fruits to your lemonade? Go nuts!

Roast the lemons before juicing them

No, roasting isn't limited to just meat and vegetables. If you want your lemonade to taste sweeter without adding more sugar, you can roast lemons, too! This will cause the sugars to caramelize, making the lemons sweeter, naturally. It can also reduce some of the tartness, if you prefer your lemonade to be more sweet than sour.

Here are the steps: First, set the oven to 400° F. Then, cut the lemons in half horizontally, and place them on a baking sheet with the flat parts down. Place the sheet into the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes. Next, remove the lemons and set them aside. Once they're completely cool, juice the lemons as you normally would for your lemonade. 

And that's it! Pretty easy, right? With the intense flavors created from the roasting, you probably won't need to add as much sugar, or any at all.