Check out a recipe for lemonade with a patriotic glow

The Associated PressJuly 4, 2013 

Patriotic lemonade.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • DIY CONFETTI POPPER

    This reusable popper lets you launch paper "fireworks" during Fourth of July parades and barbecues - or wherever confetti is needed.

    1. Cut the top 2 1/2 to 3 inches from a clean plastic bottle and discard the rest.

    2. Cover the cut edge with tape.

    3. Stretch the mouth of a party balloon over the bottle's opening. Work the neck of the balloon over the threads of the bottleneck, as shown at right.

    4. Cut paper into confetti, then pour the pieces into the popper.

    5. Hold onto the bottleneck with one hand, and pull down on the bottom of the balloon with the other. Let the balloon snap to launch a shower of confetti.

    Source: FamilyFun magazine

If you've never tasted fresh lemonade, you don't know what you're missing. It's just so much more vivid than the supermarket stuff, much more about the lemon and less about the sugar.

True, juicing the lemons can be a pain, but the process becomes very near painless if you start by softening the lemons in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then all you have to do is add sugar syrup - a mixture of sugar and water, heated until the sugar is dissolved - and some cold water.

In short, it's hard to top fresh lemonade all by itself. Still, there are plenty of ways to gild this lily. You can infuse the sugar syrup with fresh herbs. You can add seltzer. You can combine it with other fruit juices.

In celebration of the Fourth of July, we'll dress up our lemonade with three different kinds of cubes - watermelon, coconut and blueberry for red, white and blue. Holiday aesthetics and electrifying flavor aside, this drink is almost absurdly healthy.

Watermelon happens to be an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of A, as well as lycopene, potassium and magnesium. And calorie-wise, it's very modest. A full cup of diced watermelon clocks in at 46 calories.

There's no confusion about the virtue of blueberries, which are packed with antioxidants. They're also a good source of vitamin C and fiber.

Happily, during a rummage through the cupboard I stumbled upon a can of lite coconut milk. As everyone knows, fruit and coconut go together like fireworks and the Fourth of July.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE LEMONADE

Start to finish: 25 minutes, plus freezing; servings: 6

3 cups cubed seeded watermelon (the redder the better)

3 cups cleaned and rinsed fresh blueberries

3/4 cup well-stirred lite coconut milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1 cup fresh lemon juice

Fresh mint leaves, to garnish

In a blender, puree the watermelon until it becomes liquefied. Pour the watermelon liquid into ice cube trays (you should have enough liquid for twelve 2-tablespoon cubes). Rinse out the blender, add the blueberries and puree until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the blueberry puree to another ice cube tray. In a third tray, divide the coconut milk between 6 cubes.

Transfer all of the trays to the freezer and freeze until solid, preferably overnight.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

In a pitcher combine 1/2 cup of the sugar syrup with the lemon juice. Add 3 cups of cold water, then taste and add additional sugar syrup if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

To serve, place 2 watermelon cubes, 2 blueberry cubes and 1 coconut cube in each of 6 rocks glasses. Top the glasses with lemonade, then garnish with mint. Let sit for 10 or so minutes to allow the cubes to melt slightly and flavor the lemonade.

Nutrition per serving: 150 calories; 20 calories from fat (13 percent of total calories); 2 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 33 g sugar; 1 g protein; 10 mg sodium.

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