I am currently in Melbourne to attend Inspiring Australia Conference 2011. On my second day here, I stumbled on a multicultural food festival which had foods from a diverse range of countries including, Spain, France, Nepal, Caribbean, Netherlands, United States of America, Germany and Thailand. In amongst the food stalls, I found a traditional lemonade stand to which my body responded by being suddenly thirsty.
I wandered over to the stand and while waiting I found that I was about to have a large serving of traditional lemonade made from eight different plants. My mind started to swirl with thoughts of a lemonade with ginger, mint and spices. I didn’t get anything that exotic. My palate detected two plants, a lemon tree and the sugar cane, nevertheless it was a refreshing drink. The claim of eight plants into one serving of lemonade was a bit of a stretch. There could have been eight different lemon trees involved.
This triggered thoughts of the chemistry of lemonade. It is a lemon flavoured drink and is made from lemons, water and sugar. Here is asimple recipe from Taste.com.au that just involves two steps.
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 2 cups ice cubes
- Lemon slices, to serve
- Place sugar and boiling water in a heatproof jug. Stir to dissolve sugar. Set aside to cool completely.
- Strain lemon juice into sugar mixture. Add 2 cups cold water. Stir to combine. Stir in ice cubes and lemon slices. Serve.
Caster sugar is finely ground table sugar. It is a source of sucrose.
Sugar is a group of chemicals of crystalline carbohydrates of mainly sucrose, lactose and fructose characterised by their sweet flavour. When it comes to food, sugar almost always refers to sucrose which is obtained from sugar cane and sugar beet. There are other sugars, (like glucose and fructose), used in food preparation, mostly industrial but they are beginning to be used domestically with the popularity of molecular gastronomy.
So what comes from the lemons. The obvious chemicals from lemon include citric acid and water but there are a few other things in lemon juice.
This is a list of some of the things in 100g of raw lemon juice.
|Dietary fiber||2.8 g|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.040 mg (3%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.020 mg (1%)|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||0.100 mg (1%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.190 mg (4%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.080 mg (6%)|
|Folate (Vit. B9)||11 μg (3%)|
|Vitamin C||53.0 mg (88%)|
|Calcium||26 mg (3%)|
|Iron||0.60 mg (5%)|
|Magnesium||8 mg (2%)|
|Phosphorus||16 mg (2%)|
|Potassium||138 mg (3%)|
|Zinc||0.06 mg (1%)|
There are also other recipes of lemonade that use carbonated water or use a combination of lemons and limes. The appearance of lemonade can be clear, yellow or cloudy. There are even flavoured lemonades including peach, raspberry, pomegranate, strawberry and cranberry. In India, a common household preparation of Nimbu Pani is a spiced lemonade drink which so far has been the most flavoursome drink of lemonade I’ve had. It contains salt and a combination of spices. Another spiced lemonade drink, Shikanjvi, is also prevalent in the India-Pakistan region and can be flavoured with saffron, garlic and cumin.
I think possibly that Nimbu Pani and Shikanjvi would fit the description of being made from eight different plants.