Jen here, again! So, I’m just learning to “can” things using the boiling water bath method. I inherited my mother-in-law’s canner last year, along with several dozen jars. And, like I always do, I bought a book to help me learn what to do, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine (2006). I figured I’d jump in with both feet this winter, and have been trying several different recipes to become familar with the process. I started with grape jelly from juice (and learned I need to use a much bigger pot to boil my mixture in to get it to gel right). I also did a Meyer lemon marmalade using a recipe from The Paupered Chef, but checked techniques with my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which has several marmalade recipes (including Orange Chili Marmalade and Gingered Zucchini Marmalade).
One that caught my eye, though, especially after I picked up a bunch of regular lemons from Freecycle, was for Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate. It’s simple to make, and tastes wonderful. My cousin asked me for a recipe a couple of weeks ago, so I’m finally getting around to sharing. This week we broke it out when Amanda came to visit, and again for our 10th anniversary. Definitely worth having on hand, especially if you can get lemons and strawberries (I used frozen because it was the middle of February) for cheap.
Strawberry Lemonmade Concentrate (p. 192)
The sweetness of fresh, ripe strawberries adds the perfect balance to tart lemons this recipe. Preserving the freshness allows you to serve this summertime favorite at any special occasion throughout the year.
TIPS: Wash berries gently in small batches in a colander under cool running water to make sure you remove all dirt and grit to avoid bruising the soft fruit.
To reconstitute, mix one part concentrate with one part water, tonic water or ginger ale; adjust concentrate to taste.
Makes about seven pint (500 ml) jars6 cups (1.5 L) hulled strawberries 4 cups (1 L) freshly squeezed lemon juice 6 cups (1.5 L) granulated sugar
- Prepare canner, jar and lids. (For more information, see page 415.) [The book has great instructions; I’m not going to include them here. You’ll have to learn basic canning techniques somewhere else, like here – this is a high acid food.]
- In a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, working in batches, purée strawberries until smooth. Transfer to a large stainless steel saucepan as completed. Add lemon juice and sugar and stir to combine. Heat to 190°F (88°C) over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Do not boil. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
- Ladle hot concentrate into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
- Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store. (For more information, see pages 417-418.)
When we served the Strawberry Lemonade this week, we mixed one liter of sparkling Caliostoga water with one pint of concentrate, so it made more of a lemonade refresher (and served more people). It was perfect!