Day 46: Vanilla Cherry Lemon Concentrate

Vanilla Cherry Lemon Concentrate
    
Day Forty-Six (05.07.2012)
Processing: Hot Water Bath Canner 15mins
Yield: 6 1/2 x pints (13 cups)

Recipe Source: Myself
  
This is another of my own versions of lemonade concentrate (cordial) - fruity sugar syrups that you can drink with iced water, ginger ale or tonic water (50 - 75% water, 50-25% concentrate). Fresh sweet cherries partnered with tart fresh lemon juice and an undertone of vanilla. A nice glass of this is perfect in hot weather or all-year-long! Delicious :(^_^):
  
Choose dark red, good quality cherries. Wash cherries, remove stones and roughly chop. Simmer in a wide heavy-based pot for 10 minutes with the water. While the cherries are simmering, juice the lemons - you'll need about 14 lemons to make the lemon juice. Also prepare vanilla beans by splitting down the middle and scraping the inside out.
  
You want the cherries to be soft and tender - or just falling apart - then cool slightly and blend into a puree using a blender, food processor or hand blender. Strain to remove excess cherry skin and to catch any rogue stones. Dispose of cherry pulp. Place juice back into pot and whisk in sugar, whisking on medium/simmer until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla bean and whisk to combine. Almost bring to a boil while the jars are pre-heating.
  
Pre-heat seven pint jars by covering in water and boiling for 10 minutes, pre-heat seals and rings in simmering water for 10 minutes. Almost bring concentrate to a boil then turn the heat off and skim foam. Ladle into prepared hot half-pint or pint jars to 1/4 inch (0.5cm) headspace. Remove bubbles, adding extra concentrate if necessary to correct headspace. Skim foam (if any) from the surface then wipe rims, apply seals and twist bands on to fingertip-tight. Process in hot water bath canner for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove jars after 5 minutes to a teatowel-covered bench to rest overnight. The next day remove bands, label and store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. I made 3 pints and 2 half-pints of concentrate following this recipe.
  

Ingredients:

9 cups whole fresh cherries (about 3 pounds), pitted, roughly chopped

2 cups water
4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 14 lemons)
6 cups white sugar
2 vanilla beans, scraped (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
      
Concentrates are a fantastic way of using fruit juices with freshly squeezed lemon juice to make delicious drinks to serve during summer or year-round. 
   
Why not try making your own vanilla cherry lemon concentrate like this, it makes a delicious drink and a nice gift, too - how about a box of assorted concentrates for a birthday or Christmas gift! :(^_^):

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