History of Lemonade
The very first uses for the lemon in the Mediterranean were as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens. Tracking the progress of the lemon tree from its origin in Assam and northern Burma to China, across Persia and the Arab world to the Mediterranean, is difficult because of the lemon’s adaptability to hybridization. This has caused problems for the horticulturist (a variety might not take to a new land), the food historian (unclear references--for example, the “round citron”), and the taxonomist (a proliferation of botanical terms).
Although the citron--like a lemon but larger, with a very thick rind and very little pulp or juice--seems to have been known by the ancient Jews before the time of Christ, and perhaps dispersed in the Mediterranean by them, the lemon seems not to have been known in pre-Islamic times. Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa is wrong to claim in her book A Taste of Ancient Rome, that the Romans grew the lemon. In fact, the malum medicum mentioned by Pliny is the citron. Although there are depictions of citrus fruits from Roman mosaics in Carthage and frescoes in Pompeii that bear a striking resemblance to oranges and lemons, this iconographical evidence is not supported by any paleobotanical or literary evidence, suggesting that the artists either imported the fruits or saw them in the East.
The first clear literary evidence of the lemon tree in any language dates from the early tenth-century Arabic work by Qustus al-Rumi in his book on farming. At the end of the twelfth century, Ibn Jami’, the personal physician to the great Muslim leader Saladin, wrote a treatise on the lemon, after which it is mentioned with greater frequency in the Mediterranean.
Egyptians of the fourteenth century knew of the lemon. Most peasants drank a date-and-honey wine. Along the Egyptian Mediterranean coast, people drank kashkab, a drink made of fermented barley and mint, rue, black pepper, and citron leaf. It appears that the all-American summer drink, lemonade, may have had its origin in medieval Egypt. Although the lemon originates farther to the east, and lemonade may very well have been invented in one of the eastern countries, the earliest written evidence of lemonade comes from Egypt. The first reference to the lemon in Egypt is in the chronicles of the Persian poet and traveler Nasir-i-Khusraw (1003-1061?), who left a valuable account of life in Egypt under the Fatamid caliph al-Mustansir (1035-1094). The trade in lemon juice was quite considerable by 1104. We know from documents in the Cairo Geniza--records of the medieval Jewish community in Cairo from the tenth through thirteenth centuries--that bottles of lemon juice, qatarmizat, were made with lots of sugar and consumed locally and exported.
Robert and Mary White produced the first R Whites lemonade in Camberwell, London, in 1845. Their home-made lemonade was regarded as so supremely refreshing that it was bought by H.D. Rawlings in 1891 who delivered it to the royal houses of Europe. The brand came into Britvic’s care in 1986 when Britvic and Canada Dry Rawlings Ltd. merged.
freshly squeezed juice of 9 lemons (1 1/2 cups) 5-6 cups of water
10-oz pkg. frozen strawberries, pureed (fresh would do perfectly well, but I didn't happen to have any available when I made this last night) sugar to taste Combine lemon juice, water, and 3/4 of the strawberry puree. Add sugar until you have reached the desired tartness/sweetness. Add strawberry puree until the strawberry/lemon taste balance is about equal.
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