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It's too hot. The air is oppressive and sticky, and it just keeps getting hotter... I need a nice, cold glass of lemonade.

Fortunately, I have a bag of lemons and plenty of ice! So now the question becomes one of technique. Keeping in mind that I'm hot (and consequently lazy), is it worth taking the time to zest the lemons before adding sugar and ice, or will the sugar alone suffice to extract those refreshing oils from the rind?

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Apparantly this is off-topic. :( (meta.cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/121/…) –  plor Jul 15 '10 at 15:29
The meta topic you linked to is about Alcohol. What does that have to do with Lemonade? –  Nick Jul 21 '10 at 20:41

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Use a vegetable peeler to peel of large strips of rind. That way, it'll be easier to remove once you're done steeping. If you don't mind it being mildly alcoholic, steep them in vodka and then strain the vodka into the lemonade.

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I had to let them steep for the better part of a day... but this worked great in the end - the flavor was intense. Next time, I'm going to do my usual pureed zest for speed, letting the results steep just until ready to serve. –  Shog9 Sep 10 '10 at 2:41

You'll get a strong/different flavor using the lemon zest. I personally like it.

That said, if you mash/muddle the lemons you'll probably get much the same flavor as zesting.

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I wouldn't bother myself. Just throw the whole rind in after you juice the lemons: the acid from the juice ought to leach out everything from the peel. I've always thought the whole point of zesting was to get the rind small enough to hide in regular food, more than to bring out flavor.

When I used to hike a lot, we'd put orange rind (no juice) in our water bottles to kill the iodine taste, and the flavor of oranges was pretty evident in the water after half an hour or so, so you might not even need the juice to help.

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The whole rind can add bitterness. –  hobodave Jul 15 '10 at 20:04

If by effective you mean which drink is more quivering, then adding the lemon zest doesn't make much difference. I think it depends from personal taste.

I am used to add lemon zest in some recipes to add a different taste to meat; I don't add to drinks. If I have to choose, I prefer to add lemon juice in drinks.

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