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Recipe: Sparkling Strawberry Limeade

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Wanna know the hardest thing about writing a book based on one’s food blog?

Keeping your mouth shut.

You all know I love to share new ideas and what’s coming next on the blog, but I’ve really had to scale back so I don’t end up posting all the recipes from the book that I’m so excited to share with you soon. It’s like having my hands tied, or my mouth covered in duct tape or something. And while I have great recipes to share that aren’t book-related, the ones I want to post NOW are all the ones I have to keep mum about. ‘Tis a terrible conundrum, but also an excellent exercise in patience and restraint.

There are some recipes, however, that teeter on the “???” list; meaning, the list of recipes that could go either way: into the blog queue or into the book. This refreshing little drink is one of those recipes, and I’m pretty glad I decided to put it on here since it’s perfect for the hot, hot holiday that’s just around the corner.

Here in California most summer produce is out in full force at farmers’ markets and grocery stores alike, and I am in absolute heaven because of it. Peaches, plums, blueberries, cherries, blackberries, nectarines – you name it, it’s out there! Every time I work one of the markets it’s like being right in the center of a delicious rainbow of colors & aromas, so it’s impossible not to feel inspired to enjoy it all at once.

Despite the fact that cherry season is in full swing (and I’m having oh-so-much fun with that!), strawberries are still going quite strong as well, so I’ve done my best to make sure I don’t ignore them. This most recent batch of berries came as a complete surprise to me because they were, once again, a gift from a vendor. Now, I love that they are so generous with me; unfortunately, my nano-fridge does not, so it’s become quite the challenge to store everything properly. Not wanting to waste anything, I am constantly finding new ways to use my awesome produce, whether it’s by canning/freezing, or using it in old standby recipes.

Then comes the I Wish I Had Enough Room For A Juicer moment, for a lot of these excess produce problems are easily solved by just juicing every darn thing and enjoying that instead. Alas, with a mere 20″ of counter space in this kitchen, that moment is short lived, but it does give me an idea for those extra strawberries. And with the key limes I had just picked up from Grocery Outlet for a mere $0.99 (for 2 lbs!!!), I knew exactly what to do with them.

Now, don’t feel bad if you can’t find key limes at your store. They’re not the most common citrus here in the US, though they’re finally seeing a rise in popularity as more chefs discover them & use them for their distinct flavor profile. But if you can find them, I highly recommend using them over regular limes for a few different reasons. First, obviously, is the taste. It’s hard to describe, but the flavor of the key lime is almost more floral, not quite sweet but almost, and 100% refreshing. Then there’s the fact that they’re practically all juice, as opposed to their larger cousins, which are usually all lovely peel and very little juice. I like a lot of bang for my buck, and key limes really know how to deliver.

Lastly, there’s the price. While it doesn’t happen at every store, for the most part, key limes tend to be far less expensive than regular limes. Many are sold bagged for about $2 for 1-2 lbs; some sold at ethnic food stores are sold for even less than that. Considering the fact that you can spend up to $0.50 on ONE regular grocery store lime that has almost zero juice, the savings can be quite good. But again, I understand that not everyone has access to this particular fruit, so of course, look for the things you can actually buy.

This is a great way to make use of any excess fruit you may have, so feel free to mix it up with different berries if you’re feeling inspired. I may have to add this to Tip #15, which is all about being kind to your produce (since it’s so kind to you), because I don’t think I really addressed using fresh produce for beverages very much in that post. Practicalities & logistics aside this is a deliciously refreshing drink that is easy to make and can be enjoyed all summer long, especially as we celebrate Independence Day tomorrow!  Hope you all have a safe, fun, and delicious holiday!

Sparkling Strawberry Limeade (makes 8-10 servings; average cost per serving: $0.75)

Juicing key limes can be a bit time consuming because of their small size, but their juice is well worth the effort! To get the most juice out of each lime, be sure they’re at room temperature before making your limeade. Also give each lime a good roll a few times, so you break apart some of the juice sacs inside, making it easier to squeeze out all the yummy goodness inside. Try this with lemons, too! Works wonders. : )

Ingredients
2 c fresh strawberries, trimmed & halved
1 1/2 c freshly squeezed lime juice (Key lime is preferable, but regular limes will do just fine)
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c still water
3-4 c sparkling water
Ice

Directions
1. Combine the strawberries and two tablespoons each of lime juice and sugar in a bowl or blender cup. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the strawberries until smooth. Strain the strawberry puree through a sieve or fine mesh colander, so that the seeds are removed. Set aside.

2. In a separate container, combine the remaining lime juice, sugar and still water, and mix until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the strawberry puree and mix until thoroughly combined, then carefully add the sparkling water.

3. Check for flavor and adjust according to taste with more sugar if needed. Serve in chilled glasses or over ice, garnish with fresh strawberries & lime wedges, and enjoy!

written by

singer. writer. artist. champagne taste, 2 buck chuck budget. good cook. kooky. chocoholic. patron saint of cats. talker. listener. thinker. sometimes to a fault.

10 Responses to "Recipe: Sparkling Strawberry Limeade"

  1. Gloria Morales says:

    OH now you have done it. Here I am hot and thirsty, and you come up with this drink? knowing how much I like strawberries and key limes that is not fair, you should start to think about how to make some juice and send it to us poor people don’t you think? that way we can cool down and tell you how great that tasted. The color of the drink is fantastic too. Keep it up please.

    Reply
  2. Bev says:

    Sounds and looks wonderfully refreshing, but I have a question–what is still water?

    Reply
    • Kimberly Morales says:

      Still water is just plain ol’ regular water. I had written just “water” but then someone said it was confusing because it looks like it was listed twice, so I figured I’d specify. And now I’ve confused more people, lol! Ah well… can’t win ‘em all. The point is, it’s just good ol’ H2O. :)

      Reply
  3. Ovensports says:

    I just made limeade for the first time a few weeks ago, and your version of limeade looks really exciting! Since I’ve found a place I can often get limes for cheap ($1 for 10!), I will absolutely have to try this recipe! And of course, anything involving strawberries is a winner in my book.

    However – Where do you buy sparkling water, and what brand do you get? I honestly have never just bought sparkling water before, as I tend to avoid buying any packaged beverages other than juice or IZZE (my one beverage weakness & indulgence!). Do they have any version of sparkling water at Trader Joe’s, or is it something I’d need to go to a big grocery store for?

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! :)

    Reply
    • Kimberly Morales says:

      Great question! I usually just pick up Arrowhead at my local Safeway, since it’s perpetually on sale for $1/bottle or less. If you have a SodaStream machine, obviously this is no longer an issue, but not all of us can afford one, lol! If you’re able to find Pellegrino or another good kind of sparkling water on sale, pick that up, but in general, Arrowhead seems to work fine for me. :)

      Reply
  4. momgateway says:

    this is outrageously good!

    Reply
  5. JK Patt says:

    This looks absolutely delightful and I am sad that I came across it at the end of the summer when strawberries are starting to go out of season. i wonder if rasberries could be a nice twist although I am not sure if those are in season either.

    Reply
  6. Heather says:

    Here’s a handy tip… If you want to find the limes with the most juice, pick the ones whose peels are smooth and shiny. The more they fill up with juice, the more the peels stretch to accommodate the juice, causing them to lose their bumpy “pitted” look and become shiny and smooth.

    Reply

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