On the way home from our most recent road trip, we stopped at a Panera for dinner. I generally drink iced tea when we are out anywhere but this time, after 12 hours in the car, something about the lemonades looked so refreshing.
I tried their Blood Orange Lemonade for the first time and it was so delicious! I checked the ingredients and thought they were an odd combo: Blood oranges, sugar cane, lemon juice, carrots, turmeric, citric acid and other natural flavors. Still, so good.
When we arrived home, I was craving that juice. I loved the bright color and the fresh taste was just screaming summer to me. I could imagine a pitcher of it on my back porch with my feet up. (This was clearly a dream because if I’m outdoors I’m rarely just sitting.)
I decided to try and make a copycat recipe of the Panera juice at home. However, right away I ran into a few problems.
- Citrus season is over and picking were slim on healthy looking citrus here.
- I couldn’t find Blood Oranges to save my life. I looked at three grocery stores and decided that if I couldn’t find them, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to either.
- The carrots in the Panera juice are probably some sort of sweetened, pureed carrot juice that is a recipe in and of itself. I decided that I didn’t want to make this overly complicated for myself or others so I opted to leave the carrots out. (After looking this up on the Panera website as I right, I am correct. The carrots are in the form of a puree and some sort of carrot juice.)
- Panera doesn’t detail out the “other natural flavors” so who really knows what combo of flavors helped to create the unique taste of their juice.
All that said, I ended up making a juice that I found seriously delicious and refreshing even if it isn’t an exact copy of the Panera juice. In fact, my juice was a little thinner in texture so maybe I even liked it better?
I gave a glass to my husband because he is my official recipe taster (Lucky man!). He was mowing the lawn so he downed it without even really tasting it.
“Refreshing,” he said.
“Uh, but did it taste good?”
He said it did, but I gave him a second glass later when he wasn’t hot and sweaty just to make sure he was telling the truth. He said it was a great summertime drink and happily drank another glass.
My daughter also drank a full two glasses. At about 6, she considers herself a lemonade expert but had no idea about the turmeric ingredient.
Speaking of which, I thought turmeric was an odd ingredient when I saw it listed on the Panera juice. However, I know it has been a sort-of buzz ingredient lately.
Turmeric is a yellow-ish spice that often give curry it’s color – hence my hesitation about seeing it in a lemonade. It’s been thought to have medicinal properties and science has started looking into it. This article from Healthline.com has the following claims:
- Tumeric has bioactive compounds with powerful medical properties.
- The compounds are called curcuminoids and the most important one is curcumin.
- Curcumin is the main ingredient in turmeric and has anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant.
- It’s claimed the ingredients can lower your risk of heart disease, perhaps help to prevent cancer, help those fighting Alzheimer’s, help with arthritis, benefit those fighting depression and help in fighting age related illnesses.
To read the full article click here. To make the Orange Turmeric Lemonade recipe see below and let me know what you think.
I’m planning to bring this along to the 4th of July and make it for a birthday party later this summer. It’s for sure going to be a summer drink of choice for a while.
- Juice of 6 regular oranges (You can use blood oranges if you find them.)
- Juice of 5 lemons
- 4 cups of cold water
- ¾ cup – 1 cup of sugar (Start with ¾ and if you want more sweetness feel free to add the additional ¼ cup. We used ¾.)
- ½ tsp. of turmeric
- 2 or 3 cups of ice
- 2 additional oranges, sliced
- 2 additional lemons, sliced
- Juice your lemons and your oranges and combine in a large bowl
- Mix in your sugar and your turmeric. Whisk so that the sugar dissolves and the turmeric is dispersed. It won’t dissolve like the sugar will but will flavor the mixture just the same.
- Add in your water and whisk for a few minutes.
- Add the whole mixture to a pitcher or a drink dispenser with 2-3 cups of ice.
- Add in your sliced oranges and lemons.
- Serve cold or at least chilled.
I’m going to try adding some soda water to this too to make it a little bubbly. 🙂 It might also be good with champagne and a twist on the classic mimosa. I hope you try variations too! Happy summertime drinking, friends!