Raspberry Meyer Lemonade with Basil seeds

Raspberry Meyer Lemonade with Sweet Basil seeds and Brown Sugar

Ever since I discovered them early last year, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with them. They are without a doubt, a thing of beauty in themselves, in their vibrant color, dainty ambrosial aroma and a sweeter, quaint citrus taste.

An infinitesimal inhalation of their fragrance is enough to freshen one up. I am confessing my love (yet again) for none other than the golden offspring of lemon and (presumably) mandarin orange, the exotic sunshine fruit of california, Meyer Lemons.

If you give them a tiny chance in your kitchen, surely, you will too!

Be forewarned though, once you are hooked on to their ethereal perfume and resplendent looks, don’t blame me, if you start looking down upon the regular “run off the mill” lemons for which I will only respond with “I told you so..

I’d say, when life hands you Meyer Lemons, life is beautiful..

Though these lemony beauties peak in winter, sometimes if you are lucky, you might find them in Whole Foods up until end of April or early May, like I did last year.

So, lose no time to revel in their goodness now.. So, if you have a backyard, a tiny garden, or even a balcony, just spare the much ignored corner for a meyer lemon tree for a long lasting gratification..

With spring gone in the first couple of weeks of its arrival, April afternoons already feel more like a trailer of blazing summer from June, where I live in Texas. Don’t even get me thinking on what August might have in store!

While making lemonade out of Meyer Lemons was the most fool proof idea to cool off, like I made Meyer Lemon Paanaka in Indian style last summer, this time, it seemed fascinating to combine it with the natural pink of raspberries and some fun textured Tukmaria for an almost dreamy, amber colored cooling drink I could ever imagine.

Forget herbs or spices to flavor, if you allow the perfumania of meyer lemons to steal the show!

My discovery of Tukmaria (pronounced “Took-maria”) was through my mom-in-law when she came to visit us last year. While we walked the aisles of the Indian grocery store in exploration of new spices, I was intrigued by its strange sounding name. And it was from her, I learnt that it is used most commonly in Falooda (a persian dessert, introduced to India by the Mughals) and that it is a natural coolant as well.After some time consuming research (aka googling), I also learnt that, Tukmaria (in Hindi) is the seed of the Sweet Basil plant also known as St. John’s wort in European countries. It is not the same as Holy basil or Tulsi, though it looks similar.

And, through a friend, I realized that sweet basil is the same as “Kaama Kasturi” (kannada) – the sweet clove scented fragrant sprig many-a-times inter sewn in jasmine (mallige) or jaaji floral strings and garlands. Those of you from Karnataka might recognize instantly. I don’t recollect any culinary use for it though, I’ve heard it to be a medicinal herb.

And, they are sold under many a names like sabja, subja, tukmaria, takmaria and falooda seeds

This site has some detailed information about the plant.

Sweet basil seeds resemble black sesame seeds in color and tear drop shape, but are clearly distinguishable as they are a wee bit smaller and plumper too. When soaked in water, they swell up and appear to be frog spawn look-a-likes. Pardon my choice for analogy, being a vegetarian! They can be compared to tiny tapioca pearls, if it gives you a better idea.

They do not have any distinct taste of their own, but their slimy jelly exterior and the nutty bite of the interior make them quite fun in a mouthful!

If you can’t find Tukamaria/Sweet basil seeds, Chia seeds make a great substitute. Why, they swell in water very much like basil seeds and they are an antioxidant powerhouse as we know it, which makes me wonder if Sweet basil seeds must be equally potent too?

Have you heard of Tukmaria before? How do you like to use Tukmaria in your recipes?

Raspberry Tukmaria Meyer Lemonade Recipe

makes 4 small glasses of lemonade
Printable Recipe

Things you’ll need:

4 meyer lemons
12 raspberries
1 tbsp tukmaria/ sweet basil seeds
6-7 tbsp brown sugar
3 cups water
a pinch of salt

How it’s done:

Soak the takmaria seeds in 1/2 cup water for about 30 mins.

In the meanwhile, wash, cut and squeeze the meyer lemons. Gently rolling the lemons wrapped in a tissue under the feet puts the right amount of pressure and makes most of the juice available for squeezing. If you aren’t comfortable, do so with your palm. Wash the lemons well before using.

It will be nothing short of a blunder if you discard the meyer lemon peels. If you’ll take my words, find a clean, dry jar (glass or porcelain, canning, anything), quarter the used peels and toss them in. layer them with sea salt and preserve to be used as is or pickled later.

Strain the seeds. Transfer the juice to a sauce pan or microwave safe bowl and add brown sugar to the juice. Add a pinch of salt. Either microwave for 30 secs or heat on stove top on sim for a few minutes until sugar dissolves. This will be quick. Stir well with a spoon to dissolve any remaining sugar.

Add 2-1/2 cups of water to the sugar syrup and stir to mix well. Taste the juice to adjust the sugar. I listed 6-7 tbsp sugar, so you can suit to your taste. 6 tbsp leaves a quaint tartness, while 7 tbsp makes it sweeter.

Wash the raspberries and pat dry. In a small bowl, crush them with the back of a spoon or with your fingers. Add some juice to this and wash off the crushed raspberries into the juice bowl. Add some juice to the soaked tukmaria and wash it off into the juice bowl. Stir to mix well.

Refrigrate and serve chilled.


Tukmaria is available in most Indian grocery stores, persian food stores and world food markets.

The amber color of the lemonade is mainly due to the use of brown sugar. White sugar might result in a faint pink lemonade.

For those of you who can’t access tukmaria locally, it is available at myspicesage.com

Don’t see why strawberries can’t be substituted for raspberries. Puree strawberries before mixing.

If you decide to preserve the meyer lemon peels, it is preferable to sit the jars in boiling water for sterilization and let them dry completely before use.

Treat yourself to more:


37 thoughts on “Raspberry Meyer Lemonade with Basil seeds

  1. silvachiqa says:

    Yum! Meyer lemons are so flavorful. We moved to Florida about 14 years ago, we bought 6 citrus trees, one was a Meyer lemon, this was the first time I heard of them. They are larger than most ordinary lemons, and mine tastes like a cross between a lemon and an orange. Your recipe sounds yummy, for sure I will be using it this summer, and your pics are beautiful. Sweeeeet!

  2. lemoncoco says:

    Beautiful photos! I’ve heard of Meyer lemons, but being much more north, never found them until finally this year they showed up at the local Co-Op! I hope they come back so I can try out this delicious sounding lemonade! Please if you have more meyer lemon recipes, would love to see them!

    • Radhika @ Just Homemade says:

      Thank you Lemoncoco. They are indeed so gorgeous.. Glad you got to buy them in your co-op..
      There are couple of other recipes. Meyer lemon Paanaka and Meyer Lemon Pickle.
      Please feel free to check them..

  3. swatisapna says:

    I wish we got Meyer Lemons here in India! I have read so many wonderful recipes featuring these lemons and I’m dying to try it out… Your lemonade looks like a real thirst-quencher 🙂
    Tukmaria seeds are used here in Faloodas mostly… and are generally tasteless on their own. But yes, they are said to have amazing health benefits!

  4. Vegan says:

    Not only that this is a thirst quencher but a very healthy juice drink. I consider the chia seeds the best ingredient in making this very special – it’s a dieter’s dream come true in terms of losing weight without starving.

  5. Ella @ Lifeologia says:

    Oh my, your blog is so delicious looking 😉 Yummmm…..
    I have not even heard of tukmaria before ~ would love to now find it or just come over to your place for a tasting ;D lol
    So happy you found me because I sure am happy to be here…. xo

  6. Radhika @ Just Homemade says:

    Veena & Deeps,
    Hadn’t heard about it all my life, up until early last year.. In India, it is SO possible to not know many ingredients not used locally!

    Veena, That’s a fantastic recipe idea with chia seeds.. tukmaria should fit in perfectly too!

  7. Deeps @ Naughty Curry says:

    love thepics, esp the one with the cut lemons… just beautiful! never heard or seen those basil seeds, that one i am gonna look out for

  8. Kankana says:

    I may at times forget to buy onion or potato but never do I forget to buy lemons! It’s always there in my kitchen counter .. bright yellow shining all the time in a cute little bowl specially for the lemons. Yes, that’s how much I love these lemons 🙂 I never heard of that spice before and now I am so curious to try this drink.
    Lovely collection of glass jar you have 🙂

  9. Veena says:

    I’d never heard of Tukmaria before so thanks for the info: I totally geek out on herbs and spices! Chia is great for raw puddings (just coconut milk, chia seeds, honey and freshly ground vanilla bean refrigerated for a few hours), so I imagine I can substitute tukmaria easily.

  10. Cheryl says:

    Hi Radhika,
    What a coincidence! I’m back from the market with some Meyer Lemons a while ago. Checked my FB and chanced upon this recipe. I loved your description about tukmaria as ‘frog spawn’ 🙂 Truly, once soaked they do look like tadpoles on the make. I’ve used tukmaria to make ‘Thandai’ but never with lemon. Need to try this version. Beautiful pics of the lemons in the basket 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

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