Love the zesty kick of strawberry lemonade? Learn How to Can Your Own Concentrate. Our canning recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate allows you to capture the perfect balance of tangy lemons and sweet strawberries.
Mix, strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Cook a bit, pour into jars, process in boiling water bath. Enjoy homemade goodness anytime! By the end of this article you’ll have jars of strawberry lemonade concentrate ready for your next summer picnic.
Notes about Quantity
The original recipe states that this will yield 7 pint jars. I end up with about 5 pint jars… plus a little bit. I did some research and found similar comments from others. Hmmm interesting. I wonder why?
It is a case of how you measure the strawberries! I’ve got two sources for this recipe… the Ball website, and Bernardin. Both are owned by Ball so you’d think they would be identical. They are very close… but there was one tiny difference. (at the time of this writing)
The Ball site states. 6 cups hulled strawberries
The Bernardin site states. 6 cups prepared strawberries. (pureed is how the strawberries are prepared.)
Hulled is different than prepared. Prepared would be after puree. I was using the Ball recipe and so I hulled, chopped and measured. That is where some of the difference in quantity comes from.
All this to say, you should expect 6-7 pint jars from this recipe. And be sure and measure pureed not chopped. I found many comments of people getting 5-6 pints instead of 7. (It’s not a safety issue for this recipe)
Know your Canner
Before you start, if you are not familiar with using a water bath (aka boiling water canner) or steam canner, I recommend reading;
These articles will familiarize you with how they work and what steps to take to get set up for any canning project.
Water bath canning has been the traditional way to home can high acid foods. Steam canning is an alternative to the water bath. If you’ve never tried Steam Canning… I recommend it! For many recipes (this one included) it is a great way to go! Check it out at the link above.
Either canning method is fine. So if you don’t have a steam canner, no worries just use a water bath canner or even a deep stock pot with a rack on the bottom.
Extended Directions and Expert Tips
- 6 cups cleaned pureed strawberries. I’d estimate 8-10 cups whole. This will vary wildly since the size of the strawberry will affect how it measures. Over estimate this so you don’t run short. You can always just eat the extras!
- 6 cups sugar
- 4 cups lemon juice – fresh or bottled
Prepare your canning equipment, the goal is to have your canner and jars hot when the strawberry lemonade concentrate is ready to go in the jars.
Preparing Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate
Choose ripe ready to eat strawberries. You’ll want to wash them, remove the stems (or hulls) and cut out any green portions. Washing can be as simple as putting them in a strainer and giving them a good rinse.
Using a strawberry corer to remove the cores is easy. But you can just use a knife. Whatever works.
For this recipe you want to cut out any green portions of your strawberries. The riper they are (without being over ripe and moldy) the more strawberry flavor you’ll get.
My strawberries were huge! I cut them up into quarters.
Puree the Strawberries
Using a blender, food processor, or a stick blender, puree your strawberries until smooth. I used a stick blender. If you use a blender or food processer it might help to do this in batches.
The smoother you get this, the less pulpy your concentrate will be. If you leave chunks, there will be chunks in your lemonade.
You want to end up with 6 cups prepared strawberries. (after puree)
Preparing the Concentrate
In a large stockpot, combine the strawberry puree, lemon juice and sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
Heat this mixture to 190 degrees. Stir occasionally.
Please note, 190 degrees is not boiling. The concentrate should never boil. Using a candy thermometer is the easiest way to do this.
I use this Polder Brand Thermometer for lots of canning purposes.
Remove concentrate from the heat. It will likely have lots of foam on top. Mine did. Skim off the foam. I used the edge of my flat 3 sided ladle. You can use any utensil that can skim the surface.
Tip - put this foam in a bowl, use it to dip fresh bread pieces, or just eat it with a spoon. It’s pretty good too!
A Note About the Lemon Juice
Almost always in home canning recipes it is recommended that you use bottled lemon juice. This is because the intent in many recipes a safety factor. It is to raise the acidity in certain foods. (Usually tomatoes). In this case the product itself has so much lemon juice that it is totally fine to use fresh lemon juice.
In fact the original recipe (from Bernardin and Ball) calls for fresh lemon juice. I’ve seen some people say that it is better flavor with fresh. Which might very well be true. However, squeezing 4 cups fresh lemon juice, would be a lot. If you’ve got access to inexpensive lemons you might want to do this.
Personally I used bottled lemon juice. It was convenient, quick, and cheaper than buying lemons. And it tasted great!
Packing the Jars
Using a ladle and canning funnel, add the hot lemonade concentrate to your heated jars. Remember: hot food, goes into hot jars, into a hot (not boiling yet) canner.
Leave a 1/4 inch headspace. This is the space between the juice and the flat canning lid.
Wipe the rim of the jar clean with damp towel or paper towel. This step is important. Even if you use a canning funnel this is pretty sugary sticky stuff. Any residue on the jar rims might interfere with a seal. So wipe it all clean.
Add your canning lids and rings, fingertip tight. If you ever wonder what finger tight is it simply means snug. You do not have to crank down hard.
Place jar in the canner. When all jars are filled, lower them into the canner and process according to the instructions in the recipe card below.
Processing time is 15 minutes if you are under 1,000 feet elevation. You need to adjust for altitude. I’ve got a chart below in the recipe card with altitude adjustments.
Look at this post if you want to know why the altitude adjustments are needed.
How to Make Strawberry Lemonade from Home Canned Concentrate.
Now you’ve got jars of strawberry lemonade concentrate ready to go.
What is suggested is 1 jar of concentrate added to 3 jars water. Serve cold. But this can be adjusted either more or less as you desire.
I did the one part concentrate to three parts water and my guys loved it. You may prefer a stronger drink. Try one to two ratio. If you’ve got a really sweet hankering I’ve read some use one to one. Or you can dilute it a bit more. Experiment and see what you’ll like.
Make a bubble drink by mixing with tonic water instead of plain water. Any lemon lime soda or ginger ale would work as well. It would be pretty sweet!
Don’t like the pulp?
You can filter the concentrate through a cheesecloth before canning if you like a smoother drink. Do this after you’ve skimmed off the foam, before you put it in jars. We like the pulp and the strawberry seeds in the drink.
I think straining it would remove too much strawberry, but honestly I’ve never tried it. If you have strained this… let me know how it turns out in the comments below. Thanks!
- Substitute a different berry instead of strawberries.
- Lime juice can be used instead of lemon juice. (Oh I think blueberry lime is on my to do list!)
- Sugar may be reduced.
- Honey can be used instead of sugar. This would probably affect the flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can the sugar be reduced safely?
I looked everywhere and can find no official recommendations regarding reducing the sugar in the strawberry lemonade concentrate. Since it is a fruit, I’d personally be ok with reducing it. But I would only reduce by a 1/2 to 1 cup. Keep in mind… this is mostly lemon juice. It will be seriously sour if you reduce the sugar a lot.
Yes. It will change the flavor… but it would probably still be good. See this post on how to effectively substitute honey for sugar in home canning applications.
Can I use frozen strawberries instead of fresh ones?
Yes, you can use frozen strawberries as a substitute for fresh ones in this recipe. Thaw the strawberries before measuring and using them in the recipe. Measure the strawberry and any juices that come from freezing them. Don’t toss the juice! That is where the flavor is.
Can I use other berries instead of strawberries?
Sure, any high acid berry can be substituted. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries.
Properly processed and stored in a cool, dark place, the jars can last for up to a year on the shelf. This is a pretty standard recommendation. But don’t toss it just because a year has past. Check this article for more on home canning and expiration dates.
What size of canning jars should I use?
For this recipe, you should use pint size jars. I know quarts is appealing but the timing of the processing is only for pint jars. You can not just go a size bigger.
More to Do With Strawberries
I’ve got more articles on how to preserve strawberries and other ways to use them. The choices are numerous!
Pin this for later!
Adapted from Ball and Bernardin Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate Recipes