How to make lemon syrup – aka shelf stable lemonade.

This is a re-post from a larger post last year.  It has intimately to do with the next post I’m working on, so thought it was worth the c&p.

This weekend was the beginning of the “time of the lemon”.  Somewhere else in the country, it’s citrus season, because here in the great cold north, it’s cold and they’re shipping us lots of it.  Cosco now has 5 lb bags of lemons for $6/per bag.  I went and bought 12 bags. We’ve been eliminating high fructose corn syrup, slowly but surely out of our daily lives for the last year.  This next recipie is one of those efforts.  In particular, we don’t want to get it in hidden places – read as “I don’t wanna drink my calories”.  So last year, while hugely pregnant with baby #4, I went on a mad search for canned lemonade recipes.  I found  a few, but was unable to find one I liked.  So I mixed them all up together and made up one I liked instead.  Here it is – it’s really easy. First you need to process the lemons.  Here’s what I do:
Freeze the lemons in the garage.  This done by the expedient of not removing them from the trunk of my car until my husband can carry the 50lb box!

Put all lemons on a large plate and microwave 2 minutes per side (I test each time in ten second intervals) so as to not get too hot for the next step

Lean on or roll on the counter to release juice within the peel – do not let it squirt out the sides! (This always makes a mess & invariably hits me in the eye – right around my glasses!)

Cut in 1/2 and juice – I bought a Kitchen Aid mixer attachment for this last year.


Lemon Concentrate

It’s a straight 1-1 relationship between fresh squeezd lemon juice, sugar and water.

This means, if you’ve got 1 cup of fresh lemon juice, you add in 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar.

I ended up with 12 cups of lemon juice.  This made three 12 quart batches (4 cups lemon juice, 4 cups water and 4 cups sugar) of lemon concentrate.

The individual batches of it get heated until it boils, then turned off.

I hot pack them into small mouth pint jars and hot water bath process for 15 minutes. (Don’t you just LOVE the golden color against the background of the cooler amber?!)

SDC11294   SDC11308 SDC11305

Other lemony bits: last year, I made lemon jam, waste peel lemon marmalade and candied lemon peel.  Well, the kids aren’t such fans of the lemon and the candied lemon peel, 10 months later, has developed a bit of mold (I didn’t have a dehydrator then…)  So, this year, I’m making ion-in-sacramento/make-your-own-orange-lemon-oil-cleaners-or-flea-repellents-from-the-fruit-peels” lemon cleaner.

and”  lemon oil

They are based on the recipes linked under words -I did not create those.  And, I’m still working on them, they need to leach the nice lemon oil out, so I’ll have to keep you all updated.

About catfeet1

Mom, canner, reader, sci-fi geek, she who loves car seats
This entry was posted in Canning, Household, Pantry, Prepping and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to How to make lemon syrup – aka shelf stable lemonade.

  1. Bella says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe.
    So the way I understand this, this is a concentrate. Correct?
    I was wondering if it would be possible to can regular lemonade, not the concentrate.
    It would be super fun to be able to have jars of lemonade I could just grab and go.

    • catfeet1 says:

      I’m sure you could try it, but canning the concentrate/syrup allows you to store more product in less space. And, since for me, this is simply an add some water recipie, it works better than storing the whole product. Your mileage may differ and that’s just fine! Good luck & let me know how it turns out!

    • Bella says:

      The reason I was asking, is because I was worried, that by not concentrating it, it might not be acidic enough or contain enough sugar.
      Do you have any ideas on this?

      • catfeet1 says:

        Hmm…I hadn’t even thought of that, but it’s a legitimate concern. (GREAT question, btw!!! 🙂 ) My best guess is that yes, you’re right to be concerned and as a fully hydrated product, it won’t contain enough sugar or acid to keep properly. As I think about it, none of the full lemonades I see in the store are canned, they’re refrigerated. I think I’d probably try it and see what happens…if it works, great! If not, well…not everything does, but we learn from our failures. I’ve had a number of experiments that just turn out badly… Doesn’t mean your a bad cook, it just means that what you did that time didn’t work and you should keep experimenting.

      • Bella says:

        Ok, I will give it a try.
        If it doesn’t work, I haven’t failed, I’ve just eliminated an option and will look for a new path. 🙂 I’ll keep you updated if you’re interested. 🙂

      • catfeet1 says:

        Absolutely! It’d be interesting to know.

  2. Amanda says:

    Can you tell me what you mean by Ihot pack them into small mouth pint jars and hot water bath process for 15 minutes.I am new to canning and am not sure what that means. 🙂

  3. Courtney says:

    Do you think this would work with oranges as well? I have a surplus of oranges thanks to the holidays and really want to figure out something to do with them before they go bad.

  4. ackermari says:

    You lost me here.

    ” I ended up with 12 cups of lemon juice.  This made three 12 quart batches (4 cups lemon juice, 4 cups water and 4 cups sugar) of lemon concentrate.”. Does this mean you ended up with 36 quarts of lemon concentrate???

    And how do you USE the concentrate aftermath is made?

    • catfeet1 says:

      Yep, 12 cups of lemon juice equals 36 cups, not quarts, of concentrate – you have to add in the sugar and water, equal proportions and all that.

      I use it as a shelf stable lemonade when done – you take it and add water to taste. It’s about 4 to 1 with water, proportionally, for a lemonade which is similar to store bought.

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