Day 58: Blueberry Lemon Concentrate

Blueberry Lemon Concentrate
Day Fifty-Eight (17.07.2012)
Processing: Hot Water Bath Canner 15mins
Yield: 10 cups

Recipe Source: referred to method in Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
This is an adaptation of the Lemonade Concentrate original recipe from the Ball Complete Book - concentrates are rich fruit-flavoured sugar syrups that you can drink with iced water, ginger ale or tonic water (50 - 75% water, 50-25% concentrate). We like about 20% concentrate and 80% cold water for a refreshing drink. The blueberries taste quite nice with the tangy lemon - a glass of this is perfect in hot weather and to enjoy all-year-long!

6 cups blueberries (approx 2.2lbs / 1kg) - can be fresh or frozen
4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (I needed 14 lemons)
6 cups white sugar

Pre-heat jars
Pre-heat pint or half-pint jars by covering in water and boiling for 10 minutes, pre-heat seals by placing into boiling water (not on heat) and leaving for a few minutes.
Puree fruit
Wash fresh blueberries very carefully then puree until smooth. If using frozen berries, thaw in a bowl and puree with any liquid (juice) from the bowl, too. You can use a food processor, blender or stick blender to puree the fruit. Then put the puree into a large stainless steel pot. I like to put all of the fruit into the pot then use my immersion (stick) blender to puree. Don't worry about removing the seeds, we'll do that at the end so we extract all of the flavour from the blueberries :)

Juice lemons; add other ingredients
Halve lemons then squeeze juice, either manually or using an electric juicer (mine was only $12). Pour through a sieve to catch any pulp, pouring juice into measuring jug. Add correct amount of lemon juice to pot. Add sugar to pot and stir to combine all ingredients.

Bring concentrate to 190 degrees Now we want to heat the concentrate over medium to 190 degrees fahrenheit (88 degrees celsius), which is almost bringing to a boil (but don't boil). Clip your thermometer onto the side of the pot, whisking the concentrate over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally until you reach 190 degrees, then turn heat off. Skim foam from the surface.
De-seed concentrate
Earlier we didnt remove the seeds as de-seeding berry pulp is a lot of work, and you'd waste berry pulp (which has now broken down and added more flavour into the concentrate). Working carefully, run the hot concentrate through a jelly bag (or line a sieve with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth). Repeat if required until all of the seeds are removed. Only takes a few minutes to strain and you're left with a delicious cordial :)
Ladle into jars

Ladle hot concentrate into prepared hot jars to 1/4 inch (0.5cm) headspace. Remove bubbles, adding extra concentrate if necessary to correct headspace. Skim foam (if any appears) from the surface then wipe rims, apply seals and twist bands on to fingertip-tight.

Process in hot water bath canner for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and remove jars after 5 minutes to a teatowel-covered bench to rest overnight. The next day check jars have sealed (they shouldn't flex up and down when pressed in the centre). Remove bands, label and store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. I made 5 pints of concentrate following this recipe.
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 blueberry lemon concentrate like this, it makes a delicious drink and a nice gift, too:(^_^):

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