Appalachia Appalachian Food

Granny’s Lemonade

Growing up in Appalachia it was heaven on earth
Tipper and Paul – Summer 1970 something

The days have been hot here in Western North Carolina, especially for folks like The Deer Hunter who have to be out in it for most of the day working. The rest of our bunch only has to endure the heat by choice and can run back inside to the cool whenever the notion hits us.

Growing up the summers seemed to stretch ahead for miles and miles. Once school was out Paul and I felt like we had years before we’d be forced back to early morning bus rides, school, homework, and teachers. Now the summers speed by at warp speed. As hot as it’s been I’ve found myself thinking before I know it fall of the year will be here and I’ll be getting out the sweaters and coats for us to pull on before heading out for our day.

The Deer Hunter knows the key to withstanding the heat is to keep hydrated. He drinks water by the gallons at work and at home. I try to keep him a jug of Granny’s Lemonade in the frig at home so that he can enjoy a cold glass when he gets home of the evening.

Granny didn’t make lemonade often, so when she did the day seemed extra special. Paul and I would run around the kitchen hurrahing and clapping for the cold sweet glass that Granny sat on the table for us.

Years ago, when I first decided to make a pitcher of Granny’s Lemonade I called her and asked her for the recipe. She said “Lord I don’t have a recipe. Just bring some sugar and water to a boil; cut some lemons and put them in your pitcher; pour the sugar water over them; fill the pitcher the rest of the way with water; and let it sit a while.”

Easy lemonade recipe
Hot summer days always take me back to bare feet, slamming screen doors, and Granny’s Lemonade.



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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    July 26, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    It HAS been hot!!! Yuck!!! Homemade lemonade sounds wonderful. I wonder why people don’t make orangeade and limeade as often. I bet they’d make good “ades” too, though you rarely hear of anyone doing it. Maybe I’ll give it a try.
    I drink a LOT of water during the day, especially when at work because the store is HOT with the doors constantly opening when customers come in. A few weeks ago, although I was drinking water as often as usual, I started feeling weak and shaky, so I asked for a break, had some Powerade Zero, and felt better almost instantly. So now I drink half a bottle of Powerade before working, keep water to drink near my work area, and then drink the other half bottle of Powerade at break time, and it’s been working better for me.
    Sometimes water isn’t enough, especially if someone’s sweating a lot. They’re losing vitamins and minerals that sport’s ades replenish.
    Prayers everyone’s having a great week. If it’s hot where you are, remember the children, the elderly, the disabled, and the animals.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    My, that frosty jug looks refreshing! I bet the Deer Hunter looks forward to pouring his first glass when he gets home 🙂
    I rarely buy whole lemons but usually keep one of those plastic “lemons” full of juice in the fridge, and often add a squirt of lemon juice to a big glass of water to liven it up a little. I drink water all day long no matter the weather, but in these hot and humid days the first five minutes of barn chores seems to pull it all right out of me!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 25, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    You know, recipes are the bane of mankind. If we have a recipe and it fails, we can blame it on the recipe. If it is a success we don’t mention the recipe. “Oh, it is just something I threw together!” You seem to be the pearl amongst swine who puts her spouse ahead of herself which puts you ahead of everyone, unless you claim it, which puts you back in the pen rooting around with the rest of the litter.

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Granny’s lemonade looks and sounds delicious. I could use a cold glass of it about now!

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Love lemonade!! I make it now without the sugar…. Wash three or four lemons….slice them thin as I can and add them straight into a gallon of icy water from the fridge dispenser… Once in awhile I make grapefruit flavored water (1 large one sliced), Lime water or a Strawberry flavored water…I seem to rotate through all of them throughout the Summertime…

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I love good, cold, lemonade. But mama didn’t make it that much when I was growing up. Matter of fact, we had lots of Cold Milk from ole Guernsey in our Spring. I’ve drunk this old stuff from the Grocery Store now that I don’t think I could drink the real stuff anymore…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 25, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I learned to make lemonade from my mama too. We didn’t make the sugar syrup, just poured the sugar in the jar (one gallon pickle jar). We’d scrub the lemons, roll them on the tabletop til they are good and mushy the cut them in half and squeeze the juice in the jar. We had two lemon squeezers, one on the end of each arm. After the lemon halves are sufficiently wrung out, we sliced them into the jar. The seeds go in too. Like watermelon seeds they were/are part of summer. Next fill up the jar with water and wait. When the sugar is dissolved (usually overnight) the lemonade is ready to drink.
    Sometimes my mother would make a second run of lemonade with the used lemons. It would be less lemony than the first batch but was better than plain water. I like to eat the centers out of the lemon slices. Just bend them in half and bite out the center in one bite. After setting in sugar water overnight they taste pretty good.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    July 25, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Great photo! My wife made lemonade just the other day. It was really good and our boys did away with it very quickly.
    My memories of Summer as a child are much like yours Tipper. Running out after breakfast into the grass still wet with dew. The song birds singing their
    good morning chorus and the fresh smell of a new day in the air.
    Our screen doors were always slamming and mom was always saying, “Stop slamming that door!” Or, “Stay in or out!”
    Like you the summer seemed endless and full of backyard adventures. My feet were as tough as leather because I only wore shoes to church in the summer or the very rare Saturday trip to town.
    I stayed bug bitten, scraped up, and got as dirty as possible during those days.
    After a summer shower I would walk down the old dirt road and squish mud between my toes. The evenings were for hide and go seek or catching lightning bugs while the adults sat on the porch
    to cool off. A pair of cutoff jeans without a shirt was my daily attire and by a week or two I would be as brown as an Indian. Those were magical days for me.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 25, 2016 at 9:32 am

    The recipe is the same way I make sweet tea. Will be easy for me to try!
    On another note, I have been commenting away on my cell phone, don’t think it is getting through for some reason.

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Lemonade is at the top of the list of my favorite summer drinks. I have been making lemonade with Country Time, then adding a lemon or two in my half gallon container. I make it in The Pampered Chef pitcher with the built-in dasher that churns it around to get all the pulp out of the thinly sliced lemons. It’s a quick and lazy way to make lemonade, but not nearly as good as the old-fashioned way Granny makes it.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 25, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Tipper, My first memory of lemonade was at Grandpa Collins’s house. My mother’s sisters, India, Avery and Ethel were what we called “unclaimed blessings,” ladies who were “old maids,” or not yet married. They worked on the farm, along with Uncle Esley, also unmarried, and cared for Grandpa Collins, who by my time of remembrance of him, had somewhat retired to the porch swing to sit out the summers in the shade. The four of his children still at home ran the farm and the country store. And in my frequent stays there, I remember my introduction to lemonade. They also had the first refrigerator in that area of Choestoe, and also had a place to put the pitcher of good-tasting lemonade to make it cold, cold! With only two trays of ice in the small refrigerator, ice was still at a premium, so we were satisfied with the sweet-pungent-tasting lemonade just being cold! That was a real treat after hoeing rows of corn or gathering something from the garden for the good meals my aunts made to be served from the lazy-susan table, where all the dishes to serve were put on the “turn-around” so they could go by each person seated at the large round table with its lazy-Susan top. That table dominated its special place in one section of that large farmhouse kitchen. Those were the days of my growing-up years! Sweet memories!

  • Reply
    July 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

    The slamming screen door and bare feet paint a nostalgic picture. Would also include katydid and tree frog chorus, fireflies, “heat” lightening on a sultry summer evening, and the window fan humming all night.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Tip, I don’t think I would have recognized you or Paul in that picture above but that lemonade jar I sure do recognize. It was one of my granny’s milk jugs. When she came in from milking she strained the warm milk into the clean waiting jugs. Most of her jugs were gallon jugs but she had that smaller jug for the remaining milk that would not fill another gallon jar.
    Memories are funny things!

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    July 25, 2016 at 8:43 am

    It’s been hot here in SC as well, so hot the preacher used this illustration yesterday. He said his friend who keeps chickens has been feeding them crushed ice to keep them from laying hard boiled eggs.

  • Reply
    eva nell mull wike, PhD
    July 25, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Well Sir! I would say this is another LEMONADE DAY! It was hot before daybreak! Skerd to check on just how hot it is going to get! It is not a day to be hoeing corn – for sure!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 25, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Lemonade is one memory which plays large in my childhood also. Each year for the Dehart Reunion my Dad always supplied fifteen gallons of fresh lemonade, this meant that the day prior to the reunion we had to squeeze dozens of lemons by hand since we didn’t have the modern implements available today. Dad would go to the Bryson City Ice Plant and buy several large blocks of ice, some would go in the five gallon cans of lemonade and several were chipped and placed in coolers. He made the lemonade like Granny did hers but in larger volume. This lemonade was always a hit and we seldom if ever had any left over to take home after the reunion much to my dismay since I loved it.

  • Reply
    Anthony Pickering
    July 25, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Didn’t realise you where NorthCarolina. NC is a long way from home (Aust) But I enjoyed my time there a couple of months back. It was warm though and this from someone used 110 to 115 degrees.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 25, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Yep, lemonade says ‘summer’. And the lack of a recipe is characteristic of good cooks. It’s about adapting to existing conditions and being able to accurately estimate proportions that ‘work’. It also means no two batches are the same or can be replicated. Me, I start with a recipe and then improvise. But my improvisations don’t always turn out well.
    Anybody ever make ‘sumac-ade’? It isn’t as good as lemonade but it is not bad. It has a nice pink lemonade color.
    By the way, North Carolina mountain water is awfully good but adding some club soda to homemade lemonade is a good ocassion change of pace.
    They changed our forecast from a week of 50/40 chances of rain to 30/20, like it has been for about 8 weeks now.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 25, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Mom’s recipe was kind of like Granny’s. She would cut lemons up, maybe save one or two, squeeze and heat them in a bit of water until the rinds softened a bit. Make her sugar syrup, cool some and pour in a glass container then add sliced the other lemons. After it set, if it was a bit strong she would add a bit of water and ice. This is best I can remember. Then she would eat the softened lemons she had heated with the juice and sugar syrup and “eat rind and all” while us kids made the sour taste twists with our faces and making the ewwwww sound!
    I save and slice a lemon or so for adding to the pitcher after. Squeeze my lemons in one of the tall steel old timey tall hand squeezers, save juice, make a sugar syrup and cool a bit, stir in juice, pour over pitcher of ice add my sliced lemons to make it kind of pretty. Throw the squeezed rinds in the compost! ha
    Just like real southern iced tea it never tastes as good unless sugar is mixed while hot. There is no way to get it sweetened after it is cold. If you watch, sometimes you will see people at a restaurant add packet after packet to tea trying to get it sweet enough! ha
    I love that vintage glass jug! Nothing tastes better than foods and liquids stored and served out of glass containers.

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