Cranberry Limeade

Once in a while, Trader Joe’s has a great deal on limes; you can get a whole one pound bag for 99 cents. I’ll buy a bag with the best of intentions to put them to good use, but then most recipes that use lime only call for one. Not the 10 that are in the bag. Unfortunately, limes don’t have the shelf life that we enjoy with lemons. A lime’s peel turns yellow and then brown fairly quickly, and limes tend to dry out sooner than you would expect (compared to lemons). Here is a zesty summer drink you can easily make with those extra limes. Limeade itself can be rather tart (though alone it is still one of my favorite drinks); adding a bit of cranberry juice, sour cherry, or pomegranate juice, can take the edge off the lime while adding another dimension of flavor. I’m thinking this one would also make a great juice popsicle.

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Cranberry Limeade Recipe

  • Yield: Makes about one quart.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4-8 limes, depending on how juicy they are)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice (if you use sweetened cranberry juice, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe a little bit)
  • Simple syrup made with 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water
  • An additional 1 1/2 cups water
  • Ice

Method

1 Heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil so that the sugar is completely dissolved, and remove from heat. If you want an added zing to your limeade, zest a couple of the limes before juicing and add the zest to the sugar water while it's heating. Once the syrup has cooled, strain out the zest with a fine mesh strainer before using.

2 While your simple syrup is cooling, juice the limes.

3 Add lime juice, cranberry juice, 1 1/2 cups of cold water, the simple syrup, and a few ice cubes to a serving pitcher. Depending on when and how the limeade is to be served, and how strong you want it, you can add more ice and water. For example, if you want to serve it right away, and it is still a bit warm from the hot simple syrup, add lots of ice. If it has had a chance to cool down and chill in the refrigerator, but is still too strong, add a bit more water until the strength is to your preference.

If the cranberry limeade is too sweet for your taste, add some more lime juice and water until you reach your desired level of sweetness, and use less sugar the next time you make it.

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14 Comments

  1. Kung Foodie Kat

    Limeade! Ahhh…that certainly brings back college memories from when I lived in Oklahoma.

    I love love love limes! They’re really the perfect flavor enhancer when making Thai, Mexican, or many South American dishes. I should send you the recipe for my Trader Joe’s Chili (uses limes of course). It’s not fancy, but a great easy meal for when you want something quick.

  2. Anonymous

    I would like to put the limes I got to good use. This would be nice. However can you substitute something for the sugar? 1/2 cup sugar and ?

    Thanks!

  3. Elise

    Hi Anonymous – Personally, if I were to substitute some of the sugar with anything, it would be either stevia, agave nectar, or honey. Honey will change the flavor a bit, as it has its own pronounced flavor.

  4. Andy

    This is really good! I just whipped up a batch. I ended up using 3 limes and one lemon as that was what I had on hand. Really good idea with adding the zest to the simple syrup.

  5. lydia

    I learned from my husband’s aunt who lives in Mexico, and has several lime trees in her yard, to squeeze the lime juice as soon as I bring home that big Costco bag, and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then it’s ready for limeade, or something more potent, whenever you want it.

  6. tannaz

    Throw in some tequila and fresh mint and then let’s talk! El Carmen, the local tequila bar near my apartment, has a drink they call the Mexito. It’s a take on a mojito, but with tequila instead of rum, and a bit of cranberry juice. Quite delicious.

  7. Amy

    I bought a bag of limes from TJs for only 89 cents! I only ended up using half of them, now they’re all going yellow and brown. I’ll have to salvage what I can and make this limeade. Yum!

  8. startcooking

    When I’m storing limes I always put them in a plastic bag, then into the fruit bin of my refrigerator. They seem to last much longer when stored in a plastic bag.

  9. clsilva

    Looks great! I think I might try it with a little less water to make it more concentrated and then when I am ready to serve it pour the limeade mixture at the bottom of the glass and add some chilled seltzer water! Fizzy limeade is really refreshing.

  10. Linda in the Evergreen State

    HI Elise,

    Love the additon of the lilies in the photo!
    My lilies that bloomed this year were pink.

    Those left over limes can be used to make sweet and sour mix as well for maragaritas!!
    Unsweetened fruit juice can also be frozen in ice cube trays then placed in a ziplock bag in the freezer for late use.

    Your drink would be also tasty served frozen with a sugar rimmed margarita glass. Drop the frozen lime juice cubes with the rest of the ingredients and blend.

    I mix 100% cranberry juice with a splash of diet white grape soda. Lime might be a nice edition.

    Linda in Washington State

  11. Mitchell Webster

    There is never a reason to waste a Lime,Lemon,Orange etc.

    We just put into freezer bags or better yet into Food Saver Bags whole.

    It is much easier to grate the rind off a frozen citrus fruit, than fresh.

    Thaw it out to room temp, or defrost in the microwave and squeeze, all citrus fruit yeild much more juice once it has been frozen and thawed.

    The recipe sounds absolute delicious and I plan on making some soon!!

  12. Jamie

    This sounds so delicious! On holidays and if you need something in a snap, we fill a punch bowl with ice, 3/4 cranberry-apple juice, and 1/4 ginger ale and fill the entire top with lime slices. It is to die for. I like the idea of this as a limeade without the carbonation however. Thank you for another tasty recipe

  13. Chef Tom

    This sounds so refreshing. Could also be used in a nice cocktail ! I’m a fan on vodka + cranberry, so this would make for a nice twist.

  14. Ophelia

    I just made this and it’s delicious! I only used about half of the simple syrup because I didn’t want it to be too sweet – it was so tangy and refreshing! I will definitely be making this again! Now I just need to get a juicer!

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