For all my Pinterest readers... I put the recipe at the top for you. You're welcome.
I'm so excited to be sharing this with you. Last year was the first time I made shelf stable lemonade and it is now a tradition I will forever do. With Spring right around the corner you may be lemon'd out trying to use all the lemons on your lemon tree. Now you can preserve winter's brightest fruit for summer's favorite drink with out taking up space in your freezer.
First I pick the lemons straight off the tree. I don't have a lemon tree, but my mother-in-law has a dwarf lemon tree on her property. I'm pretty sure it’s a Eureka. I would not recommend using a Meyer lemon for this recipe. I've used them and I think because they are lower in acidity they don't seem to hold the taste the same in the jars.
After that I like to give them a good rinse. Last year, I zested and peeled the lemons. The pith and seeds of the lemons can be used to make pectin, unfortunately I was not successful in making it last year. But I took just the yellow part of the peels and dried them to make lemon powder which can be substituted for lemon zest in recipes. "Waste not want not" right?
Cut the lemons in half to prepare for the juicer.
The juicer that I use is awesome! It's a commercial grade manual orange juice press. We've used it for oranges, lemons and pomegranates! It works like a dream. If your interested you can get the one I used here -> https://amzn.to/2STeLVB*
I strain the lemon juice to make sure all the seeds and bits don't make it to the final product.
I like to keep all of my recipes simple. So I typically used ratios instead of measurement. The concentrate recipe that I make is 1:1:1 of water, sugar and lemon juice. For this batch I did six cups lemon juice, six cups sugar and six cups water.
Bring lemon mixture just to boil and stir to dissolve all the sugar.
There is a layer of yellow foam that develops on the top. I like to scrape off as much as I can, because it makes the jars look prettier. I also feel like I get a better head space measurement if the foam is minimal.
Add two cups of lemon mixture to each 1/2 gallon jar and top with hot water leaving one inch head space. For concentrate. You'll just add the two cups of mixture to a pint jar, this makes a 2-quart pitcher. Wipe the rims with a clean vinegar dampened cloth to ensure it's clean for a good seal. Place wide mouth lids on jars and screw on rings.
Place in a water bath canner and bring to boil. My canned fits 5 of the half gallon jars and was a $15 find at a flee market. Process time starts after the pot has began to boil. The jars should be hot still when adding them to the bath. We boiled these for 15 minutes because my mother-in-laws house is between 1000-6000ft elevation. For 0-1000ft the process time is 10 minutes and for over 6000ft the process time is 20 minutes. These times are based on research from this website.
After time is up, pull them out of the bath and allow to cool at room temperature. Once cooled it can be chilled, shaken and drank straight from the 1/2 gallon jar. Enjoy.
For storage, many people feel confident that this recipe will hold for one year. I've researched and found that there isn't any reason why it shouldn't. However, the sugar and the acidity in the lemons have been known to react on a chemistry level and for this reason I give this recipe about a 6 month self-life. The lemonade tends to not last in our household that long anyways. We love homemade lemonade.
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