I’ve long been a fan of limeade. It’s a refreshing drink, especially in the summertime, and also pairs well with gin or rum when you’re making cocktails (as in a lime rickey, for example). And for almost as long as I’ve been a fan of limeade, I’ve been using MinuteMaid’s Limeade frozen juice mix. Typically, Kelli and I would keep two or three stocked in the freezer, and when we ran out of “regular” juice, we’d mix up a pitcher of limeade.
We’ve slowly been eradicating high fructose corn syrup from our household, however, and that has prompted a shift away from MinuteMaid, which uses HFCS and other added sugar in its limeade. To be fair, we do make some exceptions to our “no HFCS” rule – it’s still in our ketchup, and it’s still in the sports drinks I use to recover from long workouts. But for the most part, we’ve gotten the HFCS out of the house, and MinuteMaid was the latest casualty.
Fortunately, it’s really easy to make delicious limeade yourself. It tastes just as good, or better, than MinuteMaid’s. And if limes are at a good price, it costs no more – and sometimes, costs less – than buying limeade at the store. The recipe is super simple…here’s how you do it:
You’ll need three ingredients: a lime, agave nectar, and seltzer water. If you’re using a tall, Tom Collins-style glass, you’ll need a half lime per glass. If you’re using a shorter glass, use a quarter lime per glass. Add the juice and pulp from a lime to the glass. Add about one tablespoon of agave nectar (plus or minus, to taste, depending on how sweet you like your limeade), and fill the remainder of the glass with seltzer water. Stir and you’re done. Enjoy! Add a few cubes of ice to chill the drink, and you’re good to go. It’s that easy.
Also, a quick word about agave nectar. We’ve started using agave nectar as a gluten-free, natural sweetener thanks to our friend Jess, who is on a diet free of refined sugars. As a sweetener, agave is a healthy and versatile ingredient, and one that has earned a spot in our pantry. We use Madhava brand agave nectar, which is a local company based in Lyons, Colorado, north of Boulder. Regardless of what brand you use, agave nectar has an interesting background:
The nectar comes from the agave salmiana plant, which grows wild and abundantly in the the high desert of central Mexico. The flower of the plant is removed, leaving bowl-shaped cavity in the center. The live plant secretes a juice into that cavity, which is harvested up to twice a day for six to eight months. Once harvested, an enzyme is added to the “juice,” and excess water is evaporated, enabling the conversion into agave nectar. As an aside, Madhava’s brand is harvested by local indians on their own land, which sounds like a nice, idealistic alternative to commercialized production. Regardless, that’s the story of agave nectar in a nutshell.
But whether you were interested in the background of agave nectar or not, enjoy it when you use it to make delicious and refreshing homeade limeade! (You can also substitute lemons in this recipe to make an equally tasty lemonade, by the way…)