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Homemade vs. store-bought lemonade

Whether life hands you lemons or not, make your own lemonade

Consumer Reports magazine: August 2012

Some lemonades, especially lower-calorie choices, fall pretty far from the tree. Our tasters tried 16: eight ready to drink, four powdered, and four from recipes. Results are below. Within categories, lemonades are in order of taste.

Bottom line: Whether life hands you lemons or not, make your own lemonade.

Two recipes using fresh lemon juice, from Best Lemonade Ever (see "Homemade Lemonade," below) and Old-Fashioned Lemonade.

They have some pulp, taste fresh, and are slightly bitter.

Country Time, Minute Maid, Minute Maid Premium (shown), Newman’s Own Virgin, Arizona, Tropicana, Brisk, Real Lemon Juice (recipe from bottle), Minute Maid 100% Pure Lemon Juice (recipe from bottle), and Crystal Light Natural mix.

Most don’t taste fresh and have candylike flavors. Those toward the top of our list are mild; the rest taste highly processed or have other taste flaws.

Tropicana Light (shown), 4C Light, Trop 50.

These reduced-calorie products tend to have a somewhat cooked flavor and are astringent and slightly bitter, with an artificial-sweetener impression and off-notes. Trop 50 has a slight grapefruit taste; the others have candylike flavors.

Photo: Andrew Pini/Getty Images

Homemade lemonade

In a small saucepan, combine 1¾ cups white sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled. Remove seeds from 1½ cups lemon juice but leave pulp. In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice, and 7 cups water.

Best Lemonade Ever, from
Editor's Note:

A version of this article appeared in the August 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine with the headline "Lemonades on Parade."

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