Blueberry Lemonade Recipe

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

Lemonade is a wonderful refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day.  Sometimes I like just plain old-fashioned lemonade and, other times, I like to flavor it using whatever berries are currently in season.  My latest lemonade creation uses high bush blueberries to make blueberry lemonade concentrate.  Fill a glass about one third full of the concentrate and top it up with lemon-lime soda for a tasty drink. You can, of course, top up the concentrate with lemon-flavored sparkling water instead of the soda.

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

This recipe begins with a simple syrup which is infused with freshly squeezed lemon juice, grated lemon rind, and blueberry purée.

I am sometimes asked if it is necessary to use a simple syrup when making lemonade.  In my view, it is essential and here is why.  Ever try dissolving sugar in cold liquid?  If you have, then you know the difficulty in getting the sugar to completely dissolve. Stir, stir, stir or shake, shake, shake and the sugar just does not want to completely dissolve and the mixture will appear cloudy. This is because sugar is not very soluble in cold liquid.  At some point, you may have experienced a drink that had a nasty gritty sugar taste and texture and you may have noticed some undissolved sugar that fell  to the bottom of the glass.  This would have been the result of sugar mixed with cold liquid.

Lemonade is meant to be a bit tart but it does need some sugar to sweeten it a bit.  So, how do you get the sugar successfully incorporated into the lemonade?  It’s simple – you make a simple syrup. And, it’s called simple for a reason.

Simple syrup is nothing more than water and sugar heated until the sugar is perfectly dissolved.  There are various formulas for simple syrup, depending on how thick you want the syrup and for what purpose it will be used. I tend to use 3/4 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water for simple syrups for beverages.  My preference is to use super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar) because its fine texture means it dissolves easier than standard granulated sugar. Simply combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat over medium heat to the boiling point, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.  Let the syrup boil gently for about 3-4 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary so the mixture does not boil too rapidly.  Don’t boil the mixture rapidly or leave the liquid on the heat too long because you’ll lose some to evaporation.  Remove the liquid from the heat and let it cool for about 30-40 minutes before adding any additional ingredients such as lemon juice, lemon rind, or puréed berries. Easy-peasy! And, you will have a much more refined drink that has a smooth, silky, velvet-like finish than you will get by trying to dissolve the sugar in cold water. It’s all about the quality in the end result.

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

I used about 6 oz of high bush blueberries (the really nice big berries like the ones in the photo below) for this recipe and, with my potato masher, I loosely broke up the berries.

Blueberries
High Bush Blueberries

By gently mashing the berries, their juices get released quicker when they are heated. The  berries were combined with 2/3 cup of water and cooked over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, just until they were softened and their juices were extracted.  The mixture was cooled for about 30 minutes then puréed with an immersion blender.  I added the blueberries, lemon juice, and lemon rind to the cooled simple syrup and let it sit for a couple of hours so the flavors would infuse the syrup.

To get the smooth liquid,  strain the cooled mixture through a very fine mesh sieve twice to remove the pulp.

This concentrate will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for three to four days.

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

[printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Blueberry Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 cup water
¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar)

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 – 2 tbsp grated lemon rind

6 oz high bush blueberries
2/3 cup water

Method:

For the simple syrup:  In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Reduce heat slightly and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes).

For the blueberry purée: In pie plate, gently mash the berries with a potato masher to release their juices.  Combine the berries and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until berries are softened and the mixture is quite juicy.  Remove from heat and cool for about 30 minutes. Purée the berry mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender.

For the lemonade concentrate: Add the lemon juice, lemon rind, and puréed berry mixture to the cooled simple syrup.  Stir well to fully combine the ingredients.  Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend.  Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp.  Discard the pulp and pour concentrate into a bottle.  Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

To serve:  Fill a glass approximately one-third full of lemonade concentrate.  Top up with lemon-lime soda or lemon-flavored sparkling water.  Add ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon wheel, a sprig of lemon balm, and fresh blueberries, if desired.

Yield:  Approximately 2 cups concentrate

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

 

Blueberry Lemonade

Yield: Apx. 2 cups concentrate

This lemonade combines two complementary flavors to make a delightfully tasty and refreshing drink for a hot summer's day.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 6 oz high bush blueberries
  • 2/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. For the simple syrup: In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat slightly and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes).
  2. For the blueberry purée: In pie plate, gently mash the berries with a potato masher to release their juices. Combine the berries and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until berries are softened and the mixture is quite juicy. Remove from heat and cool for about 30 minutes. Purée the berry mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender.
  3. For the lemonade concentrate: Add the lemon juice, lemon rind, and puréed berry mixture to the cooled simple syrup. Stir well to fully combine the ingredients. Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend. Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp. Discard the pulp and pour concentrate into a bottle. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  4. To serve: Fill a glass approximately one-third full of lemonade concentrate. Top up with lemon-lime soda or lemon-flavored sparkling water. Add ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon wheel, a sprig of lemon balm, and fresh blueberries, if desired.
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Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade
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