A few weeks ago I accidentally picked 23 pounds of strawberries….ok, I meant to pick a lot, but not quite that much 🙂 I always get carried away with that sort of thing! First, a huge shout out to Shenk’s Berry Farm in Lititz PA. I drive about a half hour to go there even though there are other pick-your-own places closer to me. They are incredibly friendly, and their farm is just gorgeous. Peaceful and beautiful, and the berries are to die for. OK, back to the recipe….I don’t mind making jam but I just rarely eat it, so had to find another way to enjoy these delicious berries all year long. I decided to try this canner recipe for strawberry lemonade concentrate. Another shout out to a group on Facebook, Canning Granny Friends Recipe Share. This is a closed group, but they welcome new members – have a huge recipe box of canning recipes, as well as hundreds (probably more) experienced canners who are happy to answer questions and share their knowledge. Highly recommend checking them out! This recipe comes from their box.
Bottom line….super easy to make, and sweetly delicious.
- 6 cups strawberries, cleaned and hulled
- 4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 cups sugar
- In a food processor, blender, or bullet, puree strawberries in batches.
- Transfer strawberry puree to a stainless steel saucepan over medium high heat (do not boil!).
- Add lemon juice and sugar and stir to combine.
- Using a thermometer, heat to 190 degrees F, stirring occasionally.
- Because this recipe has sugar it will get to temperature rather quickly, so keep your eye on the thermometer.
- Remove from heat.
- Ladle mixture into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Wipe rim, add hot lids, and tighten lids just finger tight.
- Process in water bath canner at a boil for 15 minutes.
- To reconstitute, mix one part concentrate with one part water, tonic water, or ginger ale.
- Adjust concentrate to suit your taste.
- Ok, first off – I cheated with the lemon juice. Each batch uses an entire 32 ounce bottle and I can get them at Aldi for $1.99. I thought about stoically juicing enough lemons to make five batches (that’s 20 cups of lemon juice???) and then I snorted and moved on 🙂 I’m sure the taste would be even more amazing, but using storebought lemon juice works fine too.
- This recipe is supposed to make 6-8 pints per batch. I found that I could barely make six (and one batch I had to leave at 5).
- I found that a 1 to 1 ratio when reconstituting was WAY too sweet for me. I just mixed my first glass to test it out about 15 minutes ago and I’m still wired from just the few sips that I had 🙂 I think I’m going to level out at around a 1 part concentrate to 2 parts water ratio.
- I also think sparkling water with this mix would be amazing. I don’t know much about those sodastream machines but I think if I had one this would be love 🙂
- As far as canning adventures go, this was a fairly mild one. Since I did multiple batches, I actually had two pots of strawberry mixture going at a time – that way I could be cooking one while mixing up the next one while another batch was in the canner…sounds complicated but once you get going it falls into a nice rhythm.
- I picked another 9 pounds of berries last week (see, didn’t get so carried away this time!) and I will be making more of this tomorrow night. Definitely a keeper recipe. I’m a bit strawberried out right now, but I will be in heaven drinking this in the dead of winter 🙂
Addendum: You can also make this same recipe using black raspberries instead of strawberries! It takes a little more effort because I do recommend that you remove the seeds. I made the first batch without doing it because I was lazy. It wasn’t awful, but it was a lot of mouthfuls of seeds. I then tried removing the seeds before cooking the berries, but it was next to impossible to separate. I found it much easier to do after cooking. I just used a large fine mesh strainer and scraped the seeds away from the bottom repeatedly to let the liquid strain through. Definitely need to clean the strainer in between each batch, because the seeds gum the whole thing up very quickly. Otherwise, follow the recipe above and just replace strawberries with raspberries. Yum!