May 26, 2011

Lemonade Day Recipe Contest

Last Saturday, I was a judge at the Lemonade Day Recipe Contest at the Children's Museum and Theater of Maine.  I was entertained by nonchalantly answering, 'Oh, judging a little kids' lemonade contest,' when asked what my plans were for the first nice Saturday in a while. 

The contest was a kick-off for National Lemonade Day, June 5th, where kids across the country are going to set up their carefully planned lemonade stands.  They've been testing recipes, creating business plans, marketing schemes, and budgets.

The grand prize winner of the recipe contest (selected from 5 finalists out of 16 submissions) received a serving pitcher for their lemonade stand.

The judges ranged from a teacher, a Parks & Recreations Department supervisor, to a chef, and me, a food blogger.  Lemon Head there, in the background, was the (slightly creepy?) mascot for the day.

After all the sips had been slurped, and all the contestants quizzed about their business acumen, the judges retired to the judging room (aka the children's play kitchen outside the theater).


And in the end, we were all won over by Haley and Emma's "Lemon Love" pink lemonade.  These cute sophomores from Bowdoin and Topsham created the best tasting recipe, with fresh raspberries and slices of lemon.  Absolutely delicious, and perfect for the almost hot day we had last Saturday. 

Congratulations to Emma and Haley, and good luck with your lemonade stand!

Haley & Emma's "Lemon Love" Pink Lemonade
Simple Syrup:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2-1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 cups "superfine" sugar
2 cups 100% cranberry/raspberry juice
1-1/2 quarts cold water
4 lemons thinly sliced for garnish
1 pint fresh raspberries for garnish
1 bag ice
Make a simple syrup.  Bring 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in medium sauce pan over high heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Let cool 10 minutes on stove top, then refrigerate until chilled. (1 hour)  
While simple syrup is cooling, juice lemons.  For maximum juice place washed lemons in microwave for 30 seconds.  Roll lemons with hand FIRMLY on counter.  Cut in half and place one half at a time on juicer.  Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze until you can't get anymore juice out.  Repeat until you get 2-1/2 cups.  Pour lemon juice through a fine mesh strainer to remove the pulp (if desired) and any seeds. 
In large pitcher add lemon juice, 1-1/2 cups superfine sugar, 2 cups cranberry/raspberry juice, simple syrup and 1-1/2 quarts cold water.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Refrigerate until ready to serve - up to 1 day.
To serve, in each glass add ice cubes and garnish with lemon slices and fresh raspberries.
Note:  4 small lemons will yield about 1/2 cup juice.
Makes 3 quarts.