Lemon Squash | Lemon Syrup (Without Preservatives)

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No doubt that a glass of water quenches our thirst like nothing else. But what if that water is jazzed up a bit, to make it more interesting and flavorful to drink? It is going to be exciting as variety is the spice of life! So, presenting this Lemon Squash Recipe – a non-alcoholic, DIY sweetened lemon syrup concentrate which can be used to make chilled glasses of lemonade drink at home. This Lemon Squash is free of any additives and preservatives too.  

lemon squash drink served in glasses with a jar of lemon squash syrup at the side

What is a Squash

Any non-alcoholic concentrated syrup that is used to make beverages is called a ‘squash.’ A squash is primarily fruity in flavor and made with water, sugar or any other sugar substitute. Many traditional squashes also have herbal extracts in them.  Lemon Squash is one of the most popular ones in the world.  

When summers in India creep in, the best way to cool our body is with chilled glasses of homemade beverages that really satisfy the thirst as well. Here, squashes take the award for the ‘best performance’ as they are easy to make and can be prepared in large quantities and stored for later use.

More on this Lemon Squash

Summers for me definitely mean preparing batches of this non-alcoholic Lemon Squash and using it to make cooling drinks whenever I wish to. Apart from this, I also have recipes for Orange Squash, Sandalwood Syrup and Khus Syrup.

This Lemon Squash recipe is very close to my heart as it is from my cooking school. I have made a few changes in the proportions and skipped the citric acid and sodium benzoate from the recipe to keep it healthier. This homemade syrup does not have any additives or preservatives added to it.  

This recipe has a subtle flavor of spices too from the cardamom powder and saffron added to it. To sweeten this Lemon Squash, I have used raw sugar. Regular white sugar can be used too.

The simplest and easiest way to serve this Lemon Squash is to dilute a portion in some chilled water and finish it with ice cubes. To make it into a fancy drink, you can add soaked Sabja Seeds (sweet basil seeds), fresh mint or basil too and flavor it with lemongrass or ginger too.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Lemon Squash

Make Sugar Syrup

1. First, in a pan or saucepan, take 1 cup of water and 500 grams sugar (about 2 cups heaped sugar).

water and sugar in a pan for lemon squash

2. Keep this sugar-water solution on a low heat. Stir so that the sugar dissolves.

stirring sugar in pan for lemon squash

3. When all the sugar has dissolved, continue to simmer on a low heat until you get a half string consistency in the syrup. Then switch off the heat. The syrup will be sticky when you touch it.

You can also heat the sugar syrup till one string consistency. I cooked it till half string consistency.

sugar solution for lemon squash

Strain Sugar Syrup

4. Let the sugar syrup cool a bit. Next step is to filter the sugar syrup of its impurities.

Line a bowl with a strainer that has been lined with a muslin cloth or a thin cotton kitchen towel.

muslin cloth lined strainer to strain sugar solution for lemon squash

5. Now pour the sugar syrup carefully through the muslin lined strainer into the bowl.

pouring sugar solution through muslin lined strainer

6. Here’s the collected sugar syrup in the bowl. Let this filtered sugar syrup become lukewarm or come at room temperature.

cooling sugar solution in bowl to room temperature

Prep lemons and extract lemon juice

7. Then rinse 500 grams (roughly 10 to 12 medium size) lemons well in water. Halve all of them.

halving lemons for lemon squash

8. With a lemon squeezer or press, extract juice from each lemon half in a bowl or mug.

extracting lemon juice in mug

9. From 500 grams lemons, I got 1 cup of lemon juice.

lemon juice in mug

10. If there are small seeds in the lemon juice, then filter it through a tea strainer.

filtering lemon juice of seeds

11. Powder the seeds of 8 to 9 green cardamoms along with ½ teaspoon saffron in a mortar-pestle. Keep aside. This is optional.

powdering green cardamom seeds and saffron for lemon squash

Make Lemon Squash

12. Now add the lemon juice to the sugar syrup. The sugar syrup should be lukewarm or at room temperature when you add the lemon juice.

adding lemon juice to sugar syrup

13. Add powdered cardamom and saffron.

adding powdered spices to sugar-lemon solution

14. Mix very well.

stirring lemon squash

15. Now pour the Lemon Squash in a sterilized glass bottle or jar. Close the lid tightly and refrigerate.

The yield is about 750 ml of lemon squash and stays good for a month in the refrigerator. Use a good quality glass bottle or jar so that it does not crack while sterilizing.

pouring lemon squash in sterilized glass bottle

16. When preparing the Lemon Squash Drink, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the squash in a glass and add chilled water. Stir and serve. You can also add ice cubes in the drink.

homemade lemon squash drink served in glasses

Expert Tips

  1. Adding the cardamom powder and saffron to the squash is optional. You can skip either of them or both.
  2. The sugar syrup for the squash has to be cooked till half or one string consistency.
  3. Make sure the sugar syrup is either lukewarm or at room temperature while adding the lemon juice to it.
  4. This Lemon Squash recipe stays best for a month when refrigerated in a sterilized glass bottle or jar with a tight lid.
  5. For sterilizing the glass bottle or jar: Boil water in a pot. Place the glass bottle or jar in the boiling water along with the lid separately (the lid should not be made of plastic). Let them sterilize in the boiling water for about 8 to 10 minutes. Use a pair of tongs to remove them carefully and allow them to dry naturally.
  6. To make Lemon Squash drink: Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of Lemon Squash in a glass and top it with chilled water. Stir and serve. You can add ice cubes and garnishes like lemon slices, soaked sabja seeds or fresh mint/basil.

More Cooling Beverages To Try!

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lemon squash drink served in glasses with a jar of lemon squash syrup at the side

Lemon Squash | Lemon Syrup (Without Preservatives)

Lemon Squash is an easy DIY lemon syrup concentrate made without preservatives and additives. This can be used to make a refreshing Lemon Drink.
4.83 from 17 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Cuisine World
Course Beverages
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 750 ml
Units

Ingredients

For Lemon Squash

  • 500 grams lemons or 10 to 12 lemons or 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 500 grams raw sugar or white sugar or or 2 heaped cups
  • ½ teaspoon saffron – crushed, optional
  • 8 to 9 green cardamoms – crushed or 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, optional

For Lemon Drink

  • 1 glass water – cold
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon squash
  • 2 to 3 ice cubes optional

Instructions
 

Making Lemon Squash

  • First, in a pan or sauce pan, take water and sugar.
  • Keep this sugar-water solution on a low heat. Stir so that the sugar dissolves. The syrup will be sticky when you touch it.
  • When all the sugar has dissolved, continue to simmer on low heat until the sugar syrup reaches to a half string consistency. Then switch off the heat. You can also heat the sugar syrup to one string consistency.
  • Let the sugar syrup cool slightly. Then using a strainer filter the syrup. First line a bowl with a mesh strainer. Line the strainer with a muslin cloth or cotton kitchen napkin.
  • Now pour the sugar syrup carefully through the muslin lined strainer into the bowl.
  • Let this filtered sugar syrup become lukewarm or cool down to room temperature.
  • Rinse the lemons well in water. Halve them.
  • With a lemon squeezer or press, extract juice from each lemon half in a bowl or mug.
  • You will need 1 cup of lemon juice.
  • If there are small seeds in the lemon juice, then filter them through a tea strainer.
  • Powder seeds of 8 to 9 green cardamoms together with saffron in a mortar-pestle. Keep aside.
  • Now add the lemon juice to the sugar syrup. The sugar syrup should be lukewarm or at room temperature when you add the lemon juice.
  • Add the powdered cardamom and saffron. Mix very well.
  • Now pour the Lemon Squash in a sterilized bottle or jar. Close the lid tightly and refrigerate.

Making Lemon Drink

  • When preparing the Lemon Squash drink, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the squash in a glass and add cold water.
  • Stir and serve. You can also add ice cubes in the drink.

Notes

For sterilizing the glass bottle or jar: Boil water in a pot. Place the glass bottle or jar in the boiling water along with the lid separately (the lid should not be made of plastic). Let them sterilize in the boiling water for about 8 to 10 minutes. Use a pair of tongs to remove them carefully and allow them to dry naturally.

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This Lemon Squash recipe post from the archives first published in March 2015 has been republished and updated on 2 May 2022.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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41 Comments

  1. Hi,I’ll try this lemon squash . As it does not have any preservatives ,for how much time can we keep it So that it’s taste does not change whenever we make it.? N is it to be kept in fridge or can it be kept outside in room temperature? Thanks!

  2. I made this recipe since I had guests at home. Believe me it was a super duper HIT. I couldn’t believe that I’ve made a preservative free squash and without any changes in the taste!! It was such a great hit at home that I packed my aunt a bottle of squash…. I’m so happy… my happiness is cos of you. Thanks a ton….5 stars

    1. thanks a ton preethi and also for sharing your experience. good to know and am glad 🙂

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