Two years ago I bought my first citrus tree, a Meyer Lemon Tree. It wasn’t big (in a gallon pot), but I still dropped around $30 for it. Kirk rolled his eyes pretty good (not that you can blame him….). I kept it alive last winter by wrapping it in white frost fabric in my then pop-up greenhouse. It made it through the winter, and I lost a few leaves on the edges from being cold singed. But it made it through. Then I moved it outside in late April/early May, and it sat out there till late September. It’s been in the greenhouse since. We keep the greenhouse minimally heated – just enough to ensure nothing dies, and have a control unit that kicks on once it dips under 45* or so. We have two full spectrum grow lights connected to the heater as well, that come on. While the lights are aimed at my greens, the citrus trees are getting a lot of bonus light. Last winter I harvested 2 lemons. This year I took 26 lemons off the tree. The tree has also doubled over the Fall and is putting on a lot of new growth all over. While in theory I could have let them turn a bit more “ripe” till they turned orange, they were delicious as is.
Today…..the “normal” price for lemons in Washington State is $1 each. Meaning I took in $26 worth of lemons. One more year and my baby will be paid off!
1 pound of Meyer Lemons is $4.99 here. It was a bag of 5 small lemons. Mine? Organically grown. I’d hate to see the price for that….and to see what other country they came from! My footprint was short…..a few hundred steps!
So what did I make with my bounty? Well….sure I could have done preserved lemons, or lemon curd, but the boys really love lemonade. What is better than homemade lemonade? Liquid gold in a jar! The key in this recipe is keep it 1•1•1 for ratios. As always, while I trust my canning methods, I am not a master preserver. I researched recipes to make this, and feel safe in it.
- 3 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3 cups filtered water
- 3 cups granulated sugar
Fill a canning kettle half full with water, and place in 4 clean pint canning jars. Bring to a boil. Fill a saucepan with water about half-full, adding in rings and new lids. Bring the pot to a boil, take off heat.
Add the lemon juice, water, and sugar to a non-reactive stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring often. As soon as it boils, take off the heat.
Lay out a clean kitchen towel on counter, drain jars and place on towel. Dip a clean canning funnel and ladle into boiling water to sterilize. Pour hot concentrate into jars, leaving 1/2″ head space. Take a new damp paper towel, wipe the rim of each jar. Place a lid on top, then a ring, hand tightening on. Place jars in canning rack, lower into canning pot. Bring to a rolling boil (make sure the jars are fully covered with water, if not cover with more). Once boiling, process for 15 minutes covered. Remove from pot, let cool on a dry towel overnight, listening for the ping sound as they cool.
Test lids by pressing gently and making sure they are flat and do not bounce back up. If any do not seal, consume soon and keep refrigerated. For best long-term storage, keep jars in a cool, dry and dark place, and use within a year.
Makes about 4 pints.
To make concentrate into lemonade:
Depending on your personal taste it will be 1 part concentrate to 3-4 parts cold water. I like my lemonade watered down, so 4 parts is my way. If you like it VERY sweet, start with 1 part concentrate to 2 parts water.
It’s also great to use as a lemon flavored simple syrup, or mix in with sparkling water, for a carbonated drink.