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Ade for the Soul

Go beyond lemonade. Make an Ade with any citrus.
Or, “What we did with all that citrus.”

The healthful properties of citrus have been long celebrated by sailors, physicians, and growers. Citrus, according to the types of websites that appeal to the health-conscious, can prevent all manner of ailments, improve bone strength, and act as a sort of a fountain of youth for the skin.

Citrus’s characteristic flavor is derived from essential oils, sugar (in the form of fructose), and both citric and ascorbic acids. Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is essential for the growth and repair of tissues. It helps us make collagen (the protein in skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels) and absorb iron. This vitamin isn’t stored in the body, which means we have to get it from the food we eat.

Store-bought citrus is as ripe at it will ever be, so choose wisely. During the fruit’s ripening process, the sugar content increases while the acid content decreases. Under-ripe citrus tastes sour because there’s more acid than sugar; over-ripe fruit has low levels of acid and therefore lacks the characteristic tang.

Fresh citrus can be stored at room temperature (about 65-70°F) for short periods. Kept in a bowl or basket where air can circulate freely, lemons and limes keep for about two days; oranges of all types will keep for three to five days; and grapefruit will keep for a week. Whole citrus fruit lasts much longer refrigerated in a high humidity crisper.

Don’t rinse your fruit before storage! Citrus is washed after harvest, then coated with an edible wax to replace the natural wax removed during the cleansing process. Without this protective wax, citrus shrivels within hours, so store your fruit unwashed, and wash just before using. Always wrap leftover sliced fruit tightly in plastic, then refrigerate.

Citrus Ade by the Glass

Makes 1 generous cup

Muddling thinly-sliced citrus with sugar releases the citrus oil, resulting in a glass of full-flavored ‘ade with just the right amount of sweetness. Be sure to thoroughly scrub your citrus before slicing.

Step 1. Choose your ade:
  • Lemonade: 2 lemons + 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Limeade: 4 limes + 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Orangeade: 1 orange + 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • Tangerine-ade: 2 small tangerines + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Grapefruit-ade: 1/4 grapefruit + 2 tablespoons sugar
Step 2. Make the ade:

Halve citrus from pole to pole, and thinly slice horizontally. Place sliced citrus, sugar, and a pinch of table salt in a 2-cup measuring glass; muddle until all juice is expressed, and sugar is fully dissolved. Stir in 3/4 cup cold water, then pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a pint glass, pressing on solids with muddler to release all liquid; discard solids. Add ice and stir to chill.

Note: If muddling is not your thing, simply juice citrus (yield will be about 2 ounces), add sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve. Stir in 3/4 cup cold water; add ice and stir to chill.
Feeling more spirited? Try a Gin Rickey.