Does anyone else do a happy dance when you see fresh strawberries are finally available at local farm stands and farmers markets? Because the strawberry season is over in the blink of an eye, I don’t mind putting in some time in the kitchen to make sure I can enjoy strawberry treats all throughout the year. Making and canning jam and preserves is a little labor intensive, but now that my kids are a little older I am finding I actually really enjoy it. I took me pretty much all day, from picking to canning the berries, but I think it was worth it.
This is a recipe for preserves I have been using since I started canning. I originally found the recipe in Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda Amendt, and I was happy to see the recipe again in her latest book Blue Ribbon Canning: Award-Winning Recipes. Yup, I own both books! I received Blue Ribbon Preserves from a friend as a wedding gift 12 years ago, and like all well-loved cookbooks do, it is showing its age, so I ordered Blue Ribbon Canning: Award-Winning Recipes earlier in the month when it was released, my favorites where all there along with some new Fair winning recipes from home-canners across the country that I really can not wait to try!
Old Fashioned Strawberry Preserves is not hard to make, but here are a few crucial steps to success.
- Use ripe strawberries, but not over-ripe or dead-ripe. Over-ripe fruit will result in a syrupy preserve.
- Use small berries, if you have larger berries but them in half or quarters. The sugar needs to penetrate the berry to prevent them from floating to the top of the jar.
- Don’t cut back on the amount of time the strawberries stand in the sugar.
- Yes, 8 cups is a lot of sugar, but that is what makes jams and preserves so yummy, don’t skimp on that either 🙂
These fabulous preserves will keep for one year. Things that your jam will taste amazing on? Toast. Biscuits. Scones. And, of course, this will make a killer peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich.
- 9 cups hulled small whole strawberries
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice strained
- 8 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- 1 3-ounce package liquid fruit pectin
- Wash jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well and dry lids and bands, set aside until needed.
- Heat home canning jars in hot water, not boiling, until ready for use. Fill a large saucepan or stockpot half-way with water. Place jars in water (filling jars with water from the saucepan will prevent flotation). Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Keep jars hot until ready for use. You may also use a dishwasher to wash and heat jars.
- Prepare the boiling water bath canner by filling it half-full with water and keep water at a simmer while covered with lid until you are ready to process your filled jars. Be sure your rack in resting on the rim of the canner or on the bottom, depending on the type of rack you are using. You don't necessarily need to purchase a boiling water bath canner if you don't already have one at home. Most kitchens have pots that can double as boiling water bath canners. A boiling water bath canner is simply a large, deep saucepot equipped with a lid and a rack. The pot must be large enough to fully surround and immerse the jars in water by 1 to 2 inches and allow for the water to boil rapidly with the lid on. If you donâ??t have a rack designed for home preserving, use a cake cooling rack.
FOR THE PRESERVES
- In a large bowl, combine the strawberries with the lemon juice, stirring gently to coat the berries with juice.
- In a 8-quart stock pot, alternately layer the strawberries and the sugar, don't make your layers to large, you want the berries to have lots of contact with the sugar. Cover and let stand 4- 5 hours.
- Remove the cover from the pot with the berries and sugar. Over medium-low heat gradually heat the berry-sugar mixture while stirring constantly and gently. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Stir in the butter (this helps prevent foaming) and increase the heat to medium-high, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and maintain the gentle boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the strawberry mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly and gently. Stir in the liquid pectin, and return the mixture to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
- Remove pan from heat and skim off any foam that developed while boiling.
- Allow the preserves to cool for 5 minutes. this cooling period prevents floating fruit in jars.
- Gently stir the preserves to distribute the strawberries throughout. Ladle the preserves into prepared hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace . Wipe the threads and rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth. Cover with lids and apply screw on lid bands.
PROCESS THE JARS FOR STORAGE
- Place filled jars in the canner until all of the preserves have been put into jars or canner is full. Lower rack with jars into water. Make sure water covers jars by 1 to 2 inches.
- Place the lid on the canner, and then bring the water to a full boil. Boil hard 10 minutes for half-pint jars, or 15 minutes if you use pint jars.
- Turn off the heat and allow the jars to remain in the hot water for an addition 5 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the water using a jar lifter, and allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, remove the screw bands and check the seal of the jars. The center lids should have no give whatsoever. If any seals are compromised, store those jars in the fridge. Otherwise, fill your pantry with your strawberry preserves to enjoy all year.