43ºF

TASTY TUESDAY: Deb’s Frozen Lemonade a long-standing tradition during hot weather

Deb's Frozen Lemonade has been around for more than 40 years, with a recipe that dates back more than a century.

CAVE SPRING, Va. – “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

It’s no doubt that life has handed us more than just lemons in recent months, and that held Deb Castelli from opening up Deb’s Frozen Lemonade again in the spring.

Castelli spoke of her employees, saying, “If something were to happen, if they were to get sick, I would never get over it. I didn’t know whether to open.”

Now, after the hottest July on record in the Roanoke Valley, business has picked back up for Deb’s Frozen Lemonade. The community is grateful to have Deb’s back open, as it’s been around the Valley since the late 1970s.

It all started with what Castelli says, “...wasn’t a good idea.”

“I went to college when I was 16.”

Using the funds saved for college, Deb’s father opened up shop in 1977 in Vinton. The rest, you could say, is history. The recipe for frozen lemonade, however, dates back to a time when Babe Ruth was slinging homers and hot dogs at Yankees Stadium.

Castelli’s Italian grandmother made Italian ice.

“She came from Italy in 1918 through Ellis Island, and I always had it when I was a kid.”

Why fix what isn’t broken? Castelli says the recipe is the same now as it was back then. When Jenna and I visited, they took us into the back to show the preparation. We’ll keep the recipe a secret.

Holding the lemons up to the light, we had to make sure there were no seeds. Otherwise, Deb says you get in trouble.

Deb’s is a perfect place to go during the heat, but her crew will brave the heat sometimes. They go mobile in their trucks named Beulah, Bella and Vega. This, too, is somewhat of a tradition.

Castelli recalls, “My cousin and I would go in the truck and do the neighborhoods in Vinton, and that was a lot of fun.”

They don’t do the neighborhood route anymore, but you can find out where the trucks will be by looking on their Facebook page.


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