It is midafternoon. The Sun is mercilessly spewing heat with all belligerence. The ground is parched and littered with dead leaves. Trees look listless, their leaves are withered. Our squash bottle has been sitting atop a pillar in the Sun for the last ten days. As I open the door to fetch it, a thirsty Cuckoo looks at me from the food table.
She drinks water but that too does not seem to quench her thirst.
She is soon joined by a male cuckoo who drinks water too, and, the two fly away to the higher branches of Jamun tree.
Soon kids arrive from the school. Sweating and panting. A glass of chilled lemon squash does the magic. It is soothing and calming. Some goes into the popsicle moulds to be enjoyed later as lemon bars.
Summer is here and it is the time to indulge in juices, drinks, sherbets and squashes of choice. A plethora of options are available in the market. A variety of fruit juices in tetra packs and bottles in different flavours and colours vie for attention in the stores. An unlimited array of instant squashes and coolers too compete with each other. You never seem to have enough of them. But, nothing beats homemade squashes and sherbets. Homemade drinks ensure the quality and purity of ingredients.
Here is a simple recipe for Lemon Squash. Indulge in the lemony sweetness and freshness without colours or preservatives. This squash can last up to one year.
1 kg fresh lemons
650 grams sugar
Sterilize a wide mouthed glass bottle along with the lid. To sterilize the bottle, place it in a large pot. Fill up the pot with water covering the bottle. Bring the water to rolling boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Place the lid in the pot. Remove from water after 15 minutes. Dry.
Squeeze juice from lemons. Pass it through a strainer with large holes to remove the pips.
Fill up the sterilized bottle with sugar. Add lemon juice. Secure the lid.
Keep the bottle in Sun for 12 days. Shake the bottle every day.
Sugar will dissolve by keeping the bottle in the Sun. The squash will be ready by the end of 12 days.
Take ¼ glass of squash. Fill up the glass with cold water. Serve with chopped mint leaves and lemon slices.