So part of canning is sterilizing your jars, I guess there is an actual sterilization process but I just put my jars and lids into the dishwasher, add some soap and run a cycle with hot water. They come out hot and clean, just like they are supposed to :).
The other part is making delicious preserve! So, I use this recipe from Cooking Downeast by Marjorie Standish but last year Jesse complained that there wasn't enough chunks of berry. This year I believe I have solved that problem.
One of the questions I have been getting is what is the difference between a jam and a preserve? My personal definition of the difference between a jam and a preserve is that a preserve has more fruit chunks and jams are more spreadable, but that is not an official defintion.
Ingredients: (for my amended version)
- 1 cup water
- 3 + 1/3 pint granulated sugar
- 4 pints chopped fresh strawberries
- paraffin wax
- go to a u-pick farm and pick yourself some delicious strawberries (go for organic so you don't eat pesticide when you eat some in the patch!)
- also heard a good rule of thumb: buy organic if you eat the skin, if you don't it doesn't matter...like cantaloupe, you don't eat the skin
- "hull" the strawberries (aka get rid of the green leafy stuff)
- wash! may look clean but just wash it anyway, you're going to be storing this in sugar...and sugar is a breeding ground for bacteria!
- very small berries you can keep whole but bigger berries you should cut up into slices or quarters
- I learned last year that it is wise to cut up all 4 pints of strawberries BEFORE you start and have them ready to go, otherwise you will be playing catch up
- pour 1 cup water into large soup pan
- add 1 pint (or 2 cups) sugar to water
- boil for 15 minutes - stir throughout process at necessary to avoid the bottom burning
- WATCH CAREFULLY! I also learned last year that this will burn suddenly and AGGRESSIVELY...burnt sugar is not fun to deal with
- also I mean boil, not over boil! bring to a boil quickly but then back off to the lowest temp that will keep it continuously bubbling (on my glass top stove I achieved this at 5)
- After 15 minutes of actual boiling add 1 pint of strawberries and boil this for 15 minutes
- Add 1 pint sugar and 1 pint strawberries, bring back to boil and boil for 15 minutes
- repeat above step
- add 1/3 pint sugar and 1 pint strawberries, boil for an additional 15 minutes
- remove from heat and allow to cool, stirring occasionally
- remove foam from top with a spoon (skim it) but try to keep as much berry goodness out of the foam as possible
- carefully spoon berry mixture into canning jars leaving enough space to put wax on top
- take melted wax and pour onto preserve, should cover completely, about 1/4 inch thick
- allow to cool/set
I will have some of these for sale in my etsy store so definitely go check that out and maybe buy one?!
I have enough strawberries left over that I will be doing a strawberry pie (and posting the recipe!) and probably canning even more preserve!
If you ever find yourself diagnosed with scurvy you can eat this to help you get better :) Better idea...just don't get scurvy.