Whether you’re a lemonade kind of person or you lean more to the tequila and salt side of life, when life gives you lemons, you have to have a plan!
We are blessed to have a pretty productive lemon tree. Unfortunately, like most food-bearing trees, the lemons all ripen at once. There’s only so much lemon-pepper chicken, lemony carrots, lemon meringue pie, and lemonade that one family can take!
What I do with all those lemons depends on how productive the tree is. It takes fifty lemons to put up 5 gallons of hard lemonade or ten lemons per gallon. Strawberry lemonade concentrate takes about eight lemons to make seven pints of concentrate. Plus there’s all that fresh lemon juice and zest that I’ll need throughout the rest of the year.
This year, the harvest was good, but not over the top. The plan is to make one batch of the strawberry lemonade concentrate and two gallons of hard lemonade and juice and zest the rest. Half of the zest will be dehydrated and stored in a jar on the shelf in the pantry. The other half will go in the freezer. The dried zest has a concentrated flavor that I don’t always want. The juice will be frozen into one-tablespoon ice cubes, perfectly pre-measured for most recipes. So handy!
Have you ever seen lemons preserved in salt? I’ve heard good things, but I’m always skeptical about anything that uses a lot of salt. I know that salt is an awesome natural preservative, but sometimes I can be hyper-sensitive to the taste of salt. Just the thought of this lemon-salt combination is making my whole face pucker! If you’ve done this, please comment below or email me. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you.
Anyway, I have two buckets of lemons to take care of. That strawberry lemonade concentrate is something new I’m doing this year. Here’s the recipe:
Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate
6 cups hull strawberries
4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cups granulated sugar
Prepare canner, jars, and lids.
Working in batches, purée strawberries in a blender or food processer until smooth. Pour strawberry purée into a large stainless steel saucepan. Add lemon juice and sugar. Stir to combine. Heat to 190°F over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Do not boil! Remove from heat and skim off foam.
Ladle hot concentrate into hot jars, leaving ¼” headspace. Wipe rims. Adjust lids.
Process jars in a water bath canner for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes. Remove jars, cool, and store. Makes about 7 pints.
To reconstitute: mix one part concentrate with one part water, tonic water, or ginger ale.
Doesn’t that sound like a wonderfully easy way to have fresh tasting lemonade any time of the year?!
Thanks for stopping by! When life, or a tree, hands you lemons, you now know a few more ways to use those lemons than just passing the salt and tequila! I’m definitely partial to my homemade hard lemonade. Hmmm, I wonder if two gallons will be enough to make it to the next harvest. It’s going to be a long year.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,