Canning Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate 

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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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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. 

Canning outdoors with ball electric water bath canner and a hot plate heating up some pureed strawberries, various canning supples laid out on the table.   
Canning outdoors today with my Ball Electric Water Bath Canner.

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.

Handful of cleaned quartered strawberries.

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. 

Pot with strawberries being pureed by a stick blender

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. 

Pot of strawberry lemonade concentrate heating up with a candy thermometer monitoring temperature.

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.  

Pot of strawberry concentrate with foam being skimmed by a red 3 sided ladle.
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.

Wiping the rim of a pint jar clean before putting in the canner.
Still a little foam in the jars. It’s fine.

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.

3 pint jars strawberry lemonade concentrate on the table, a canning lid being placed on one jar.

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.  

My husband and son sitting at a picnic table enjoying strawberry lemonade,  they liked it!
Here are a couple of my taste testers. (they gave it a thumbs up)

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!

Substitutions 

  • 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.

Can I substitute honey for the sugar in this recipe?

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. 

How long can I store the canned strawberry lemonade concentrate?

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! 

Recipe Card

Canning Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate

Strawberry Lemonade. Canning this in a concentrate gives you a quick easy and tasty summer treat. 
Print Recipe
5 jars of homemade strawberry lemonade concentrate sitting on a small cutting board on the picnic table.
Prep Time:1 hour 30 minutes
Processing Pints (adjust for altitude):15 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Strawberries Measure once pureed. I’d estimate 8-10 cups before pureed. This will vary wildly. Overestimate this so you don't run short.
  • 6 cups Sugar or to taste
  • 4 cups Lemon Juice  fresh or concentrate

Instructions

  • 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 strawberries. Wash and hull your strawberries.  Remove any damaged or green portions.  
  • Cut large strawberries in half or quarters, small berries may be left whole.
  • Using a blender in batches, or a stick blender, puree your strawberries until smooth. You want to end up with 6 cups cleaned pureed strawberries. 
  • In a large stockpot, combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and bring it to 190 degrees.  This is lower than boiling.  Concentrate should not boil.  
  • Remove from heat. 
  • Skim off any foam that forms on the surface.

Packing the Jars

  • Add lemonade concentrate to the jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
  • Remove air bubbles with a bubble tool. 
  • Check headspace again and adjust if needed. 
  • Wipe rims of jar clean with damp towel or paper towel. 
  • Add your canning lids and rings, finger tight. 
  • Place jar in the canner.  When all jars are filled, process according to the instructions below 

Processing with Water Bath Canner

  • After all jars are in the canner, lower rack into the water.  Bring to a boil.
  • When the water comes to a rolling boil, start your processing time. 

Processing Time

  • For altitudes up to 1,000 feet, Pints are processed for 15 minutes
  • Be sure and adjust your time for altitude.  Altitude adjustments can be found in the notes area below.
  • Process for the full time indicated, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a boil for the entire processing time. 

Cool Down Time

  • When processing time is completed turn off the heat.
  • Remove the canner lid and wait 5 minutes.
  • Remove your jars. (optionally you can wait another 5 minutes if the contents appear to be bubbling so hard it is coming out of the jars)
  • Put the jars a few inches apart on a thick towel and allow them to cool to room temperature undisturbed. 12 hours is suggested.
  • When the jars are cooled, remove the metal bands, check the seals, wash jars, dry completely. 
  • Label with contents and date, and store in a cool dark place.

Notes

NOTES: 
Optional –  You can make your strawberry lemonade to taste.  Suggested is 1 jar concentrate to 3 jars water.  But this can be adjusted either more or less as you desire.  
Optional – you can filter through a cheesecloth before canning if you like a smoother drink.  We like the pulp and the seeds in the drink.  
Substitutions 
  • Mix with seltzer water, or a lemon lime soda for a bubbly drink.  
  • Any high acid berry can be substituted.  Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. 
  • Lime juice can be used instead of lemon juice. 
  • Sugar may be reduced. 
  • Honey can be used instead of sugar. 
Altitude adjustments
Altitude – time increase
1,001-3,000 – increase 5 minutes
3,001-6,000 – increase 10 minutes
6,001-8,000 – increase 15 minutes
8,001-10,000 – increase 20 minutes
Sources – 
bernardin.ca 
Ball.co
Servings: 7 pint or quart jars

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Preserve the Zing of Strawberry Lemonade

Adapted from Ball and Bernardin Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate Recipes

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Melissa
Melissa
6 months ago

Question…. in step 4 it says to combine strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and WATER in large stock pot and stir well…. thats all great except I can’t find how much water water listed anywhere. So how much water am I suposed to be adding at this time?