Blueberries are one of our favorite fruits because they are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins and have a natural, sweet taste. Since Dan and I both love to eat blueberries on a daily basis, I like to seek out interesting ways to incorporate them into our meals.
A Taste Of Summer…All Year Long
For example, as part of our wedding favors last year, we gave guests different homemade blueberry jams in small jars. In addition, I also wanted to use blueberries in the drinks that we served during our reception. I immediately thought about modifying the strawberry lemonade concentrate drink recipe (found in Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving) that I make and serve at family gatherings. This blueberry lemonade concentrate recipe allowed me to bring the taste of summer to our fall wedding by serving blueberry lemonade punch.
The punch that we served was such a hit that the guests drank almost all of it by the time we were finished taking the formal photos. Fortunately, I had plenty of other drinks available!
Simple To Make, Less Expensive Than Store-Bought
Making the blueberry lemonade concentrate is easy, even for a novice canner, as it uses only a few simple ingredients. However, if you have never canned before, I recommend that you first read about home food preservation on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. I also highly encourage you to follow their water bath instructions whenever you are canning food at home.
I picked and then canned the blueberry lemonade concentrate during the height of last summer’s blueberry season, which provided me with the freshest berries available. As an added bonus, if you pick the berries yourself, you are also likely to save money compared to buying the prepackaged berries at the grocery store or market.
You can drink the concentrate throughout the year, either by mixing it with water or making it into a punch. To reconstitute the concentrate, you simply mix one part concentrate with three parts water, carbonated water or ginger ale.
- 6 pint jars with rings and new seals
- 6 cups blueberries, washed
- 4 cups of lemon juice, fresh squeezed (not from concentrate)
- 5 cups of sugar
- Tip: I purchase lemons during the winter when lemons are in season and freeze the juice for later use. When lemons are in season the price per lemon is typically cheaper than during the summer when blueberries are ready to be picked. Plus, by squeezing the lemon juice ahead of time and freezing it, I save myself time during the summer when I am ready to can the concentrate.
- Prepare your jars and rings according to the National Center For Home Preservation instructions.
- Working in batches, add 3 cups of blueberries to the blender and puree until smooth and then pour into a Dutch oven. There will be tiny pieces of blueberry skin in the puree. I leave these in the concentrate to give the lemonade texture and viscosity. Repeat for remaining blueberries.
- Add 4 cups of lemon juice and 5 cups of sugar to the pureed blueberries. Stir and heat the mixture over medium heat until the temperature reaches 190 degrees Fahrenheit. I use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Do not let the mixture start to boil as that will cause a lot of foam to form.
- When the temperature of the concentrate reaches 190 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the heat and skim any foam from the top of the concentrate.
- Ladle the hot concentrate into each of the pint jars. Make sure to leave ¼ inch headspace in the jar (stop where the threads are on the jar lid). Wipe the rim and jar to remove anything that dripped onto the surface. Place the lid and ring on the jar.
- Process all of the jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath using a covered canner or stockpot.