a.k.a How to Can Summer
I don’t use my Ball canning book for recipes very often. It’s a great resource for information on safety and basic ideas, but most of the jams use commercial pectin, which I try to avoid, or more sugar than I want. However, we hit on a winner with the strawberry lemonade concentrate last summer.
It’s a perfectly refreshing beverage no matter what your mood – sparkly, still, naughty (I’d recommend gin)… You can add herbs like mint or basil for a little extra something. You can grab a jar on your way to that Fathers’ Day picnic and make a quick stop at the gas station for some seltzer. Done! I’m thinking of trying it in this pink lemonade cake. I’ll let you know if I do.
In case I haven’t given you enough motivation, it’s also a SUPER simple recipe. It only has three ingredients and you can cheat on the lemon juice by using bottled, as long as it’s good quality. Because it’s a liquid, you avoid some of the tedious parts of canning – no packing oddly-shaped food into jars or careful bubbling.
You might notice that the photos are from our NYC apartment. We never got around to posting it last year…better late than never!
Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate
Yields about 6 pints
|Amount||Ingredient||Preparation||Where we bought it|
|2 1/4 pounds||Strawberries||Washed and hulled (stems, leaves, and hard core removed)||Red Fire Farm|
|About 16||Large lemons||Substitute 32 ounces of bottled lemon juice|
- Get your canning gear ready. (Steps 3 and 4)
- You have three choices for making lemon juice. (1) Buy it bottled. (2) Use a manual juicer or press. If you do this, just cut the lemons in half. (3) Use an electric juicer. I did number 3, so I had to peel the lemons first. To do that, first cut a slice off each stem end. Next, stand the lemon on one of the newly flat ends and use a sharp knife to carve off strips of peel in a downward motion. Juice enough lemons to make 4 cups of lemon juice.
- Place the washed and hulled strawberries in a blender. While you do this, keep an eye out for any bad spots, which should be cut out, or moldy strawberries, which should be thrown out. Blend until smooth. Depending on the size and power of your blender, you might want to work in batches or add a little lemon juice to get things going.
- Strain the strawberry smush through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. This part is optional, but I’d recommend it. You’ll have to work it a little toward the end, because the screen will start to fill up with seeds. After you’ve pushed as much juice through the sieve as possible, discard the remaining pulp.
- Once the strawberries have strained, put the puree, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottomed, wide-mouthed pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches 190 degrees. Do not boil. You want to dissolve the sugar, but not turn it into jam.
- Skim off any foam. Fill your pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, and process for 15 minutes. (Steps 6 through 22)