Serendipity lemonade

pb2205584A whole pile of zested meyer lemons, picked off my backyard tree, ended up juiced into lemonade, sweetened with vanilla sugar.  The lemons possess a light, orangey sweetness, without the direct acidity of a typical lemon variety. Their aromatic delicacy paired nicely with the sugar’s subtle notes, noticeable only when you inhaled while taking a sip.

Why I even have vanilla sugar on hand is another story entirely:  last year around this time, I was inspired by an eGullet thread to make my own vanilla extract, which resulted in a bulk purchase of vanilla beans.  A pound of vanilla is like a pound of cinnamon sticks:  way more than anyone needs for a long, long time.  I ended up giving all of the extract away, so I don’t even know if it was any good.  Thanks to my 1-lb stock of whole vanilla beans, I’ve developed the habit of tucking a vanilla bean into anything that might benefit (and a few things that definitely DIDN’T benefit).  A few beans tucked into a glass jar of granulated sugar lends a slight aroma after a few weeks; not forceful enough to be noticed in a cup of coffee, but certainly evident when sprinkled over fruit, yogurt, or stirred into hot tea.  Bulk extract-grade vanilla is available online at amazingly inexpensive prices, compared to the dinky, expensive jars sold at spice and specialty stores.

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