When I first came to Turkey I was 24 years old and never drank an ounce of alcohol. I was a flotilla hostess and would guide around 50 or 60 customers each night to a different restaurant on our sail around the bays from Marmaris to Fethiye and back.
Many of the restaurant owners would plead with me to have a drop of wine but I had already had a taste of the wonderful homemade lemonade served in small villages and from that time on, that was my tipple.
As soon as the villagers saw our little fleet of 12 yachts arrive, out would come the tables and chairs and the taverna’s owner’s wife would be sent off to procure some lemons. Within 20 minutes I would have the most wonderfully thirst quenching drink that I could imagine. Others chose stiffer drinks but I just couldn’t go past this on a hot summer’s day.
As time went by, I did get the taste for stronger drinks but to this day, I remember Limonata so fondly, and so often wished I would come across it again.
In all the years since, I hardly ever remember seeing homemade Limonata offered or served anywhere around the Bodrum area where I lived for 10 years from 1990 to 2000. Nor in Marmaris or Fethiye in the following years.
But Hallelujah, Finike has it on tap here in several areas round town. It is a very popular drink and you can see it being delivered throughout the day. How civilised!
Of course back in the 80’s they didn’t have these fancy granita machines but the flavour was just the same. Only back then, they bought a really big block of ice and chipped away at it, to ensure it was icy cold and very refreshing.
I can’t tell you how nice it is to live in such a small town where lemonade vendors can slow down the traffic and absolutely no one minds at all.
We were very fortunate to be invited to a wonderful ‘iftar’ evening meal (a meal breaking the fast during Ramadan) and were served a fabulous Limonata to accompany our extravagant meal.
Belgin who is a marvellous cook loves to pass me her secrets and was extremely happy to know that her homemade Limonata recipe was going to get air time.
You do not need a granita machine or a huge block of ice to chip away at this one. Belgin has a very clever way to beat the chill factor. Before making the lemonade she places the lemons and oranges in the freezer for a few hours first.
So here is the recipe. I hope you will give it a try. It could not be easier. Providing you have a food processor or blender, it really is foolproof. No grating, no squeezing.
Truly simple stuff.
- 2 lemons - washed and then placed in freezer
- 1 orange - washed and then placed in freezer
- 1 cup sugar approximately
- About 1.5 litres chilled water
- Remove the fruit from the freezer once frozen. This could take 3 or 4 hours
- Leave at room temperature for 10 minutes
- Cut fruit into about 5 pieces and place in blender
- Add ¾ cup sugar to 1 cup sugar and blend
- The amount of sugar is determined by your taste.
- I prefer a sour lemonade so I choose the lesser amount
- Add 1 to 1.5 litres of water depending on the strength you like
- Leave to rest 30 minutes then strain through some muslin or fine filter
- Squeeze out the remnants and discard
- Pour into bottles and place in freezer for a while, serve truly chilled
Another lady told me that the taste is superior if the seeds are removed before blending. If this is possible then it is worth giving it a go but it’s not imperative.