I love nimbu aka lemons. Period. I love that citrusy tang in my ice cream, fruit juice, mocktail or cake. Come summer, and I fall in love with lemons a wee bit more. That’s because I don’t think there’s anything that quenches thirst, on a hot summer’s day, better than lemon juice. Today, I’m here to tell you about a nimbu squash recipe, a favourite of mine, that is a total thirst quencher and is super delicious as well.
Years ago, my mother learnt how to make this squash from one of her friends, and we have been making it religiously ever since. It is oh-so-simple to prepare, and can be stored, refrigerated, for up to a month. It is completely preservative-free, too. I think this nimbu squash recipe is a great way to preserve lemon juice, whenever you manage to get them cheap. Win-win all the way round, right?
Here’s how we make the squash.
Ingredients (makes almost 200 ml):
- 1 cup of lemon juice, or juice of 10-12 lemons
- A pinch of salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- Take the water and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan, and set on high flame. Stirring intermittently, cook till the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup reaches 1-string consistency. Keep checking the consistency at regular intervals, and switch off the gas as soon as 1 string is achieved. Don’t overcook the syrup, otherwise it will become quite thick.
- Let the syrup come to room temperature and then pass it through a colander lined with cotton cloth. This will filter out the impurities in the sugar, if any.
- Once the syrup has completely cooled down, mix the salt and lemon juice into it, well. Tada! Your nimbu squash is done!
- Store the squash in a dry, air-tight bottle and keep refrigerated.
- Whenever you need to serve the squash, get the bottle out of the fridge, pour in a few tablespoons of it into a glass (or as needed) and mix in the required amount of chilled water. Mix and serve – as simple as that!
- When you squeeze out the juice from the lemons, make sure there are no seeds or pith. That can make the squash bitter.
- I commonly use refined sugar to make this squash. However, if you want to create a healthier version of this nimbu squash recipe, you could use palm sugar or organic sugar instead.
- If you can get your hands on organically grown lemons, even better!
- You could even add a pinch of kesar aka saffron to the squash, to give it more flavour and a gorgeous colour.
- I know of people who store this home-made lemon squash for up to a year, refrigerated. I wouldn’t do that, though. I think a month is a reasonable period to use this squash, because we aren’t adding any preservatives to it.
- If you’d like to increase the shelf life of this squash, you could add preservatives like sodium benzoate and/or citric acid to it.
- You can even pour the ready lemon juice (the squash + the required amount of water) into popsicle moulds, add a few basil leaves, and freeze them. I did just that, and these lemon-basil popsicles were the perfect thirst quencher for hot summer days!
You like? I hope you’ll try out this nimbu squash recipe this summer!