Adventures in Food Preservation

Strawberries

A couple weeks ago my mom showed up at my door with strawberries. Lots and lots of strawberries. I knew she would be bringing them, I just didn’t know how many there would be, four full flats worth.


We readied our canning jars and set to work. We used the freezer jam recipe in the pectin package, it’s simple and hard to beat.


We had five batches going at once, as you CAN NOT multiply jam/jelly recipes. Love this explanation on the science behind why: Double or Nothing Jam

About a dozen pints and two dozen half pints later, we decided we probably had enough jam. But we still had plenty of berries, so we decided to try our hand at making a strawberry sauce to use on pancakes or whatever else our hearts desire.

We cooked up 3 cups of smashed berries with 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tsp of vanilla, and 1 tsp of lemon juice for about 3 minutes (after bringing to a boil). We then pureed and strained it into jars and processed in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. The resulting sauce is fantastic on vanilla ice cream and mixes with lemonade for great strawberry lemonade. I’m sure I will discover lots of uses for my sauce.

Here’s some general tips and information on canning if you’re new to it:

– in my opinion, freezer jam is boss….it tastes fresher than cooked
– measure carefully and don’t try to multiply recipes for jam, if it doesn’t set you’ll have a whole bunch of very runny jam to use up
– fruits can be safely canned with only a boiling water bath because of the acidity but vegetables usually require a pressure canner, which reaches much higher temperatures
– run your finger along the rims of any jars you will be using to ensure there are no knicks that will prevent a good seal
– keep lids in a sauce pan with a little water over very low heat while you prep everything, the heat softens the rubber rim so it’ll seal well
– NEVER reuse lids for cooked items…anything that gets processed in boiling water or a pressure canner gets a new lid (I do re-use lids for freezer jams)
– for cooked items, after they’ve been removed from the hot water bath you’ll listen for their lids to pop down, letting you know they’ve sealed, any that don’t seal need to go in the fridge and be used right away

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