Congratulations!! You are now the beneficiary of the fact that my mom just cleaned out her freezer! No, really, this is a good thing (most of the time)!
In addition to our own productive garden, my parents have several fruit trees and berry brambles. Add on to that the fact that they usually plant a pretty decent amount of vegetables and then take off to Greece as they are ripening. Oh darn, you mean I have to take care of your garden and keep the produce? Well that sucks.
The end result of all this is that my parents often harvest far more than they can eat themselves. Much is taken to church to give away to whomever wants it, but a lot still gets packed up into containers in the freezer. Then the next year’s harvest begins to loom on the horizon, and my mom realizes that she’s running out of room. Again. Then my phone rings…
A good portion of what my parents
dump on me generously bring me will wind up in fruit leathers along with our own leftover harvest. These get enjoyed throughout the year when the summer fruit season is but a memory. Sometimes, though, I’ll make something more specific with the excessive bountiful ingredients I now find myself faced with. This last drop off brought a large bag of frozen blackberries and rapidly melting cubes of frozen lime juice. So guess what ingredients you’ll find popping up in the next couple of recipes?
In reality, this turned into an opportunity to make a couple of very refreshing summer treats, like this beverage. Just like a good, cold lemonade can quench any thirst, the combination of summer sweet blackberries and tart lime juice creates a not too sweet and not too tart burst of flavor that hot summer afternoons just beg for. So I guess what I’m really saying is thanks for cleaning out your freezer, Mom and Dad!
Some quick notes before you begin:
Even though this is a cold beverage, yes you do want to start with heating some of the water and sugar together. This allows for a complete dissolution of the sugar by essentially making a simple syrup and really improves both flavor and texture.
The salt is optional, but you’ll want it. The salt will bring out more of the fruit flavors and balances out the sweetness of the berries and sugar. You won’t taste it if you add it, but you will notice it if you don’t.
I take the time to process the blackberries to remove the seeds. I hate getting them stuck in my teeth. Yes, it adds a little time, but you will have both a better textured end product as well as a better flavored product than if you just puree the berries in a blender or even just strain out the juice only. Trust me.
To help make up for that little extra time, you can make large batches of the berry puree and freeze the leftovers to use later. I already have a seedless blackberry jam recipe here, and another recipe is coming soon from using up this bounty of berries and lime juice!
Blackberry Limeade Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups blackberry puree from about 1 lb. of berries (either fresh or unsweetened frozen berries may be used)
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (bottled or concentrate is fine, but make sure there is no added ingredients and that the concentrate is reconstituted first)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (if your berries are particularly sweet then you can cut back to 1 1/4 cups if desired)
- 1/2 tsp. salt (optional, but you’ll really like it better with it)
To make the puree:
Place the berries in a large pot. If frozen, allow them to thaw first and keep all the juice that comes out. Using a potato masher or a large spoon, mash the berries to release some of the liquid. Place the pot on the stove on high heat, then bring down to a low simmer and cover the pot once the juice just begins to bubble. Simmer until the berries are very soft, stirring and mashing occasionally, about 20 minutes or so.
Strain the berries through a food mill to remove the seeds. Be sure to keep the pulp that comes through the mill as this has a lot of flavor! Don’t dump the seed “mush” just yet, either! Unless your food mill completely scrapes the pulp away from the seeds, there will be a lot of good material there, as well. Measure out your leftover seed pulp and place it in a bowl. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup water to this and completely mix it together. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve while stirring it around to rub out as much of juice as possible. If you don’t have a food mill, you can push as much pulp through a mesh sieve as you can. Avoid using a blender as that will cause the seeds to get broken up into bits and you will have a gritty beverage. Not good. The leftover seed pulp makes great compost!
To make the drink:
Fill a four cup measuring cup with ice and then add water to just below the four cup line. Add this to a gallon size beverage container.
Put the sugar, salt, and 2 cups water into a small pot and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. The liquid should be clear, not cloudy. Add this to the ice water.
Add four more cups of cold (no ice) water, the blackberry pulp, and the lime juice to the jar and mix together. Though you could serve this right away, you will have the best flavor if it is allowed to chill and have time for the flavors to blend. Be sure to give the contents a stir before pouring to allow the blackberry pulp to be distributed. Enjoy on a nice summer afternoon (or anytime you want)!