Cherry season is here and it is time to make one of my favorite concentrates! I love cherries and my cherry limeade concentrate disappeared so quickly last year it’s been a trial to wait for cherries to be in season to restock. I don’t currently grow my own cherries so I keep an eye on the local grocery store ads for cheap cherries (Aldi has had the best price the past two years running.)
Feel free to use whatever cherries you can get your hands on. This year I got 4 bags of beautiful dark red cherries, Rainer variety. They are absolutely sweet and utterly delicious. Last year I used a blush variety with the same amazing results.
Making Cherry Limeade Concentrate
This recipe follows the same principle found In the Complete Guide to Home Preserving for the Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate with a twist. Using the same quantities of fruit, acid and sugar as the original recipe gives you a refreshing, slightly tart, alternative. The recipe below makes 7 quart jars (the perfect amount for regular canner). After your cherry limeade has cooled it can be stored for up to a year (or longer).
To use, simply pour into a pitcher and dilute to your preference. Depending on how strong you like your juice this could be a 1:1 to 1:3 ratio. I typically use regular water, but if you want a little fizz try ginger ale of sparkling water. Perfect for a special occasion.
Make it Easy on Yourself
I 100% suggest investing in a cherry pitter. I’m never one to buy things that aren’t regularly useful, but this is one of those times where its worth it, even if I only use it once a year. Besides, it will save you so much time, I promise! Hand pitting is the pits (haha) and can be done, but one year was enough for me. If you want to see this recipe in action check out my YouTube Video here!
Lastly, if you have an overabundance of cherries (may you be so blessed) you can also make cherry amaretto jam. Check out the recipe here! Perfect as a gift, or just to keep to your self, this jam is always a family favorite.
*original recipe credit to this post from SBCanning.com
How to Make Sweet Cherry Limeade ConcentrateCourse: DrinksCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
10 C. or ~3lbs Fresh Cherries, de-stemmed and pitted
8 C. Lime Juice (Fresh of pre-bought)
12 C. Sugar
- Prepare water bath canner and 7 quart jars by filling canner and jars halfway with hot water and placing on high heat to warm.
- Meanwhile, puree cherries with a stick blender (or a food processer) and place into a large pot.
- Turn the heat onto medium and add the lime juice and sugar to the pot. Keep an eye on the mixture and stir frequently as it heats.
- Heat until mixture is just starting to steam (do not boil), approximately 190 degrees.
- Remove jars from the canner, emptying out any water before placing onto a cloth covered cutting board.
- Using a canning funnel, pour the hot concentrate into each jar leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Wipe rims with a paper towel dipped in white vinegar before centering lids on top. Tighten ring bands to finger tip tight and place back into water bath canner.
- Turn heat on high and bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, process for ten minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for five minutes.
- Remove jars from water bath and allow to cool overnight. After 24 hours check the seal (pushing on the small button on the lid, if it does not pop in and out you’re good to go). Store in a cool dark place for a up to a year (or more.)
- To Use:
- Pour concentrate into a pitcher and add an equal amount of water, ginger ale, or sparkling water. Start with a 1:1 ratio and adjust to taste from there.