Combine the sugar and strawberries with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium- high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the berries begin to release their color and soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest. Set aside and let cool completely. The berries will continue to soften and release their color while the syrup cools.
Pour the cooled syrup and berries into a fine sieve set over a pitcher or bowl. With the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula, press lightly on the berries to extract most of the syrup. Discard the solids.
Add the lemon juice and 2-1/2 cups cold water to the syrup mixture and stir until well blended.
The lemonade can be served immediately over ice or refrigerated for up to two days.
Garnish options, by the glass or by the pitcher:
Sliced strawberries, melon, or
Whole blueberries, raspberries,
or pitted cherries.
Sprigs of fresh thyme, verbena, mint,
Lemongrass slices or straws, lemon
or lime slices, or ginger slices.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on eight servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips