Recipe: Nenae ma’a Lemon (Lemon with Mint) drink
This is a very popular and tasty Middle Eastern refreshment. It’s easy to make but requires fresh mint leaves.
Mint (nenae in Arabic) is an easy to grow plant that produces a wonderful and essential flavor and ingredient in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Arab recipes. The plant grows quickly and spreads like a weed with roots spreading wide underground and above ground, too.
Many Arab homes plant mint leaves but in large pots, or in the ground with deep metal or plastic “walls” to prevent the fast spread of this plant. Mint plants can takeover an entire garden during one full summer. They are annuals and although they wither in the late Fall and winter, they quickly return in the spring.
Mint leaves are about 1 to 2 inches long and oblong in shape. They have a very strong aroma and are often ground of diced and added as a spice to recipes.
You will need at least 30 mint leaves per glass (about two stalks with leaves — you can use the mint stalk also in the recipe.) Finely dice the mint leaves or use a mixer to dice and near-puree the leaves.
You will love the aroma.
For a pitcher of lemonade mix, use 16 stalks with leaves or 240 leaves, finely diced.
- 16 mint stalks 240 leaves (30 per glass)
- 2 quarts or 8 cups of cold, iced water
- 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice — use 16 medium sized fresh lemons
- (Or use 2 cups natural lemon juice in jar or bottle)
- 1 cup maple syrup (or use 1/2 cup sugar)
- Ice to fill pitcher
- 2 medium lemons, medium (1/4 inch sliced wedges) as garnish; or use one strawberry per glass serving with green leaf still attached at stem.
Rinse off lemons to be sliced; or rinse off strawberries.
Dice the mint leaves. Squeeze the lemons (or use pre-squeezed, mixed Lemon Juice). Mix all together.
Add the syrup (or sugar, mixing the sugar in the water).
Add the water.
Top off the pitcher with the ice.
When serving, place a thick wedge of Lemon (or full strawberry) on the side of the glass rim.
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