The garden is giving hints of an abundant summer. The orchard trees are so heavy with fruit that we are spending a few hours today clipping off 1/3 to help the remaining peaches, plums and pears produce better. The berry bushes are also loaded with small green orbs that promise good things to come. It is time to start over in the pantry.
The first order of business is to finish eating last year’s harvest. I still have jars of tomatoes to use up and a lot more jam and jelly than I can possibly use. Most will go to my children, friends and neighbors as gifts. Some we will eat over yogurt and ice cream and the remainder will be consumed on toast and biscuits. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.
I began the arduous process of defrosting the freezer this morning. Way in the bottom, forgotten for months, I found several large vacuum-sealed bags of raspberries. I probably had some thoughts of using them in winter smoothies or making more jam on a dreary winter afternoon, but “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” is too true for me. Now they cry for something special to use them up — and I have the perfect idea.
While perusing some canning magazines early this morning I came across a recipe for raspberry/ lemonade concentrate. The bones were good, but it did need some tweaking. Here’s what I came up with.
I filled my steam juicer with frozen berries. It holds a lot but I still couldn’t quite fit them all in. As they melted down I kept on adding berries until all were used up. When completely juiced I put the hot juice in my stock pot and started adding lemon juice, about 4 cups in total, to the juice of perhaps 15 cups of frozen berries. To this I added 5 cups of sugar. Some people like their lemonade sweeter than I do but they can add sugar to their own glass. That’s it. I am canning the concentrate up in pint jars and processing for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
There is something energizing about starting over. Nothing is as wonderful to me as seeing my pantry shelves heavy with the bounty that the good earth and our own sweat provides.
- 15 cups fresh or frozen red raspberries*
- 5 cups sugar
- 4 cups lemon juice
- *Use fresh or frozen raspberries, from your own yard OR a great deal at the market or grocery store
- Juice raspberries in a steam juicer. Place hot juice in a large stockpot and stir in lemon juice. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Can in 1 pint jars, processing for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Yields: 7 pints.
- To make lemonade: mix concentrate at a 1:1 ratio with sparkling water (or non-sparkling, it's up to you), chill and enjoy. Add sugar or honey to taste in individual glasses.