Saturday, July 9, 2011

Home Canned Strawberry Lemonade

You might look at this picture and think that the lemonade is a little dark.  That's because it is.  I let mine age a little to mellow the flavors, so this is last year's lemonade.  For the sake of food safety and flavor, I use mine within 12 months of canning.

I absolutely love home canning.  But its become something of a lost art these days. I think a lot of people are afraid to try it.  I know its time consuming, but the results are totally worth it!   My favorite part is knowing exactly what is in the foods my family eats.  I also know that the produce was preserved at the peak of freshness.  The fruit is sweeter, the vegetables tastier. 

But best of all, it saves me a ton of money.  We grow a garden every year and I can or freeze almost everything that comes out of it.  So instead of going to the store for canned tomatoes or salsa (or canned peaches, pears, applesauce, beans...) I shop in my pantry instead of at the grocery store.  There are a ton of great canning resources on the Internet.  Some of my favorites are Pick Your Own and Food In Jars.  If you've never canned before but want to try it, they are some good resources.  And just to show you that canning isn't just green beans and salsa, here is my home canned Strawberry Lemonade recipe.  With strawberries in season, its the perfect time to try it!

Strawberry lemonade
Makes 6 quarts of concentrate

4 quarts strawberries, hulled
4 cups fresh lemon juice (abt. 16 lemons)
3 quarts water
6 cups sugar

In a blender or food processor, puree the strawberries. Place in a large kettle; add lemon juice, water and sugar. Bring to 165 degrees over medium heat, stirring occasionally (do not boil). Remove from heat; skim off foam. Pour hot into hot quart jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes in boiling water canner. To serve, mix about one-third concentrate with two-thirds soda or ginger ale. **For best results, chill the concentrate and the ginger ale before mixing.**

Source:  A family recipe

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