Hello sweet friends! How is March finding you this year?
Here at the House we have been working on finishing up a few winter projects, homeschooling, and just making it through a cold long winter here on the MN prairies.
One of those projects has been really beefing up the pantry to ease the cost of groceries and many other things going up rapidly in our country, and doing our best to use everything completely with very little waste, That’s what I wanted to share with you today.
I know so many of us think of citrus and summer as synonymous, but the reality is, THIS is the time that is peak season for purchasing and preserving citrus. We do a lot of drying of citrus slices for teas and cooking for the rest of year, but this year I decided to try something I started last year this time…canning citrus concentrate for the following months ahead.
Why would I do this?
Well…it gives us a wonderful chilled drink in summer, and a lovely warm immune boosting drink in winter. The citrus can be removed and now dried once the jar is open, making them wonderful for baking or flavoring things. And lets be honest…its a lovely and different option sitting in your pantry looking pretty among all the soups and stews , tomatoes and relishes from previous canning sessions.
And its SO EASY to make….you should definitely try it.
Ready for the recipe? Here we go!
For every Half Gallon jar:
Four Lemons, sliced whole
1/4 Red Grapefruit, sliced whole
1/2 Orange, sliced whole
2 cups unbleached sugar, or honey, or maple syrup (depending on what sweetener you prefer)
top with warm filtered water stirring to mix everything and remove air bubbles.
*additional things you can add for taste: Mint, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, nutmeg, star spice. Can also add berries or raspberry or blackberry leaves. We even added strawberry tops from last year and it turned out amazing!
To process, waterbath in a deep stock pot for fifteen minutes. Half gallon jars will give you roughly 1 1/2 quarts of liquid when processed and opened. To make up smaller jars, halve the ingredients for quarts and halve them again for pints. Both of those will process for ten minutes in a water bath instead of fifteen.
To use: Drain and strain to get all material out. Compost or dehydrate the materials. You can use them for flavoring or baking down the road as they are basically candied citrus after being in the sugar syrup for a while. For each 8 oz glass use 1/4 cup of concentrate with water, or seltzer for a refreshing drink. For use for warm drinks, do half a cup of the concentrate, and half a cup of hot water. Its a very soothing warm drink when you are getting through or over a cold. This year we even made a jar with some basil and pepperorns specifically for that purpose since they are both good for coughs and immune support.
One quick note…we were very careful to use non-sprayed citrus (organic or beyond) for these recipes as that is concentrated in the skins. since you leave the skins on, we did not want to have that in our concentrate!
Let me know if you try it! We love seeing pictures and invite you to come share them over on our new Telegram channel that is quickly growing and supporting a lovely community of like-minded people!
Blessings to you and yours,