Monday, December 8, 2008

Recipe: Limeade

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...)

- Pete

5 comments:

Shirley said...

That's very interesting, Pete. Thanks for sharing the info on agave nectar and the recipe. :-)

I've been avoiding HFCS myself (despite the new commercials telling us all that HFCS is just fine ... NOT), but still have a few exceptions like you do.

Both my husband and I avoid sports drinks because we get an instant headache if we drink them. We're thinking it's the dyes used in the formulation currently. But, have you tried the Jelly Belly sport beans? I assume they still have HFCS, but they are an easy way to get all the benefits of the sports drink without actually having to tote the drink. I used them in a breast cancer walk a few years ago and they were great. Jelly Belly says all their jelly beans are GF. I am not sure if I'd have an issue with the Sports Beans now because of dyes, but if you can drink the sports drinks themselves with no problem, you should be able to use them.

There are more and more reasons not to eat processed foods and question a lot of foods that are approved as "safe" for us to eat. I've been reading this blog lately http://fanaticcook.blogspot.com/ . Some scary reports shared there. Check out the posts from a few days ago on what the cows and geese are willing to eat.

Our support group often talks about our concerns in this area. Most of us promote eating simply and making our "own" as much as possible to avoid as many risks as we can.

peterbronski said...

Hi Shirley,

Thankfully, I've never had problems with the dyes used in sports drinks. (Whew! Something that doesn't disagree with my body!)

I'm also a huge fan of Jelly Belly's Sport Beans, as well as Sharkies. In fact, I blogged about them a few months back in a post about Xterra Offroad Triathlons, which you can read here: http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.com/2008/08/offroad-triathlon-xterra-beaver-creek.html

Thanks for the tip about the Fanatic Cook blog... I'll have to check it out!

Cheers, Pete

Shirley said...

I just read that post, Pete. Boy, that was a tough experience to get glutened before your triatholon. (I actually ended up getting glutened at the 3-day breast cancer walk, too, so I can certainly empathize. Ended up being taken to the ER by the medical staff as a precaution and then having to leave the walk early per the ER doc's direction. Since I was out of state doing the walk with a friend, she left, too. It was a big bummer for sure.)

Anyway, I've never heard of sharkies. Will check them out. Since my unfortunate experience, I've stuck to much shorter charity events, like 5k events, so food is not an issue.

Major kudos to you for figuring out a plan that keeps you competing!

peterbronski said...

Hi Shirley. Very sorry to hear that you, too, had a problem with gluten at an event. The good news is that some GF food companies are donating products to some of the major walks in bigger cities, so that there's an option out there for people like us. And...we'll always have oranges and bananas. =)

Cheers, Pete

Shirley said...

Thanks, Pete. It's a live and learn thing, of course. The biggest problem was a miscommunication on the food I brought (you have to bring your own food if you have a special diet, other than vegetarian) and all my food got misplaced and not put in the refrigeration truck. So I had to carefully eat was available. Once my food was found, I was already ill.

Yes, fruit is the old standby! And more GF products will be great! :-)