Wednesday, May 11

Smells of summer in the springtime

Citrus season, that so refreshingly lands in the middle of winter and brings a bit of fun to the cold months, is coming to a close. Jill and I have talked about preserving citrus from the wintertime, so as to have fresh fruits all summer long, for quite some time now. Today, we put our words to action. Jill picked up 6 pounds of lemons from Woodman's grocery store; and needless to say, she received some weird looks! Now, our apartment smells like it was cleaned from head to toe, and feels like the sun is warming my skin (it is almost ten p.m. and the sun is definitely not warming my skin...!).
Here is what our lemons will yielded (we are utilizing all parts of the lemons): Lemonade concentrate, lemon juice ("straight-up," says Jill!), and dried lemon zest for future cooking adventures.

Lemonade Concentrate
7-10 lemons
2 1/2 cups of sugar

1. Using a fine grater, zest four of the lemons (but we zested all of them, and will dry the remaining zest for making tea and other tasty treats!) and set aside. Meanwhile, bring about 5 cups of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, plop in your naked lemons, for one minute. This helps to get all of the juice from the fruit! After one minute, carefully remove the lemons and save the water; the water will be used later. 
2. Cut the lemons in half, and squeeze 2 cups of lemon juice. Don't worry about the pulp! It adds fiber and tastiness! Compost the post-juiced lemon. 
3. Bring 2 cups of the lemon-infused water to a boil, and add the sugar and the zest from four lemons. Boil slowly. Add two cups of lemon juice and again, bring to a boil. Strain through a cheesecloth at this time, if you would like (we didn't!). 

For canning:
Pour into hot, sterilized jars. Process in hot water bath. Save till a hot summer day!

To reconstitute:
One part concentrate plus three to four parts water, to your taste! A refreshing treat for any hot day. 
For dried lemon zest, use either a fine grater or a potato peeler to shave off the very outer peel of the lemon. Then, spread evenly on a cookie sheet in a thin layer and allow to dry for several days, until completely dry. Then, you can store it indefinitely! It will hold flavor for longer, if stored in the fridge. You can use your lemon zest in teas or in baking. We are excited to use it in quick breads and with our sun-tea. 

In other news of late, we have been crafting many, many things. Today, I made some more scrubbies, a jar-lid pincushion, and a coin purse. I also darned a pair of socks, baked a loaf of bread and took a final exam... quite a busy day! 
 Scrubbies made with repurposed citrus mesh bags! 
 A jar-lid pincushion from some old clothes!
A coin purse from an old shirt and some extra canvas and a vintage zipper! 

The garden unit has been busy all day, in case you couldn't tell. And it was just the loveliest of days. Two more days, and classes will be complete and then one week till graduation... how time flies when you are having fun! 

Happy crafting and canning! 


  1. Looks like you've been busy. Hoping to carve out some more time for my own crafting this summer (if not much sooner.) We'll def. have to visit your stand at Beans. Yay! I'm so excited for you! AWL

  2. We have been busy as bees, but it is just a blast!

    I look forward to see you at the market. Also, I hope you are able to find some time to craft! I always love to see the lovely things you create.

    Hope all is well