Day 56: Blackberry Lemon Concentrate

Blackberry Lemon Concentrate
Day Fifty-Six (15.07.2012)
Processing: Hot Water Bath Canner 15mins
Yield: 5 x pints (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 1/5 concentrate and 4/5 cold water for a refreshing drink. The blackberries partner well with the tangy lemon - a glass of this is perfect in hot weather and to enjoy all-year-long!
Pre-heat jars
Pre-heat pint or half-pint jars by covering in water and boiling for 10 minutes, pre-heat seals and rings in simmering water for 10 minutes.
Puree fruit
Wash blackberries 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 :)

   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 into the concentrate). Working carefully, run the hot concentrate through an ultra-fine sieve (or line sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth). Repeat 2-3 more times until all of the seeds are removed. Only takes a minute to strain 3 or 4 times and you're left with a delicious cordial :)
Ladle into jars
Ladle concentrate 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 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. 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 5 pints of concentrate following this recipe.      

6 cups blackberries (approx 2lbs / 1kg) - can be fresh or frozen

4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (I needed 15 lemons)
6 cups white sugar
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 blackberry lemon concentrate like this, it makes a delicious drink and a nice gift, too:(^_^):

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