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A Bushel of Lemons

When I was younger I loved everything about summer: watermelon so ripe the juice dripped down my hand, jumping into the lake on a hot day, watching a late sunset, and, of course, drinking real iced tea and lemonade.

I remember going to one of my best friend’s houses as a kid and marveling at the amber-colored tea that sat in their backyard, brewing in the sunshine. I loved the county fair, with its dusty dirty ground (even though I had to sidestep chew spit), the sketchy fair rides, and the thrill of the rodeo.

While I have since learned how to make ice tea with the heat of the sun, and wouldn’t go on a Zipper again if you paid me, I still look forward to the first signs of summer: a day warm enough to open the windows, when the lure of sunshine makes me forget about dirty laundry or grocery shopping or responsibilities.

This is precisely how I ended up with dozens of lemons, wanting to reproduce the sweet-tart taste of my youth. I didn’t want to buy a powdered mix or too-sweet lemon-flavored drink at the store. As an avid baker, I am used to complicated recipes with many steps and ingredients. Lemonade is fairly straightforward: make a simple syrup (which is a fancy term for melting sugar in water) and add it to taste to a pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and water.

While delicious, I had one problem: there were a ton of leftover lemon rinds and a decent amount of pulp that I opted to strain out of my juice. Due to my frugal lifestyle, it felt like a waste to just toss them out. So I made a lemon pound cake and lemon rind candies.

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