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Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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lemonade, a refreshing beverage that has been enjoyed throughout the world for hundreds of years, consists simply of lemon juice, water, and sugar. Lemons and sugar—both originating in India and following the same route to the Mediterranean—are a natural pair. The addition of water creates a cooling drink in hot climates, such as India, where salt is often added. Lemonade can be served with ice, as is French citron pressé, or frozen into granita, Italian style. See italian ice.

Lemonade is appreciated primarily as a pleasurable and refreshing beverage, but it has also long been valued for its healthful qualities. The earliest written recipes for lemonade, some flavored with fruits or herbs, appeared in Arabic, in a twelfth-century medical cookbook On Lemon, Its Drinking and Use. The author, Egyptian physician Ibn Jumay’, recommended the drink for stimulating the appetite, aiding digestion, curing inflammations of the throat, and even treating “the intoxicating effects of wine.” Lemonade, he wrote, “quenches one’s thirst and revives one’s strength.”