How to Make Strawberry Preserves
Yankee Plus Dec 2015
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See how to make strawberry preserves with this very simple recipe from Yankee food editor Annie B. Copps. You can enjoy fruit all year long by preserving the summer bounty.
Hi, I’m Annie Copps and welcome to my kitchen. Today we’re going to be cooking with strawberries, one of my all-time favorites, and I think you’ll like them too. We’re going to be making a very simple strawberry preserve just with lemons, sugar, and strawberries.
Now, when they’re fresh and in season, you can slice them over ice cream, make strawberry shortcake, or even just over your morning yogurt, granola, and some strawberries and call it a day. But in the middle of January, when you really, really want to remember what summer felt like, that warm air on your skin, you’re going to want to have these preserves.
Again, super easy, strawberries, lemon, and some sugar. We’re going to start with two pounds of strawberries that I’ve cut up, and I’ll show you those in a second, and just the juice of two lemons. Remember, the way to get the juice out of a lemon is just to roll it a little bit, or you can pop it into your microwave for, I don’t know, 20 seconds, and what that does is it breaks down the membranes so that juice can just come right out.
So we’re going to cut these in half. We’ve got about two pounds of strawberries, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to hull them. Now most people would just lop off the top of a strawberry, and what that does is all that white stuff in there, that’s a little bit bitter. We don’t want that for our strawberry jam.
What we want is to dig in and twist, and that way we’re just getting the best parts of the strawberry. Then we want to slice it up, because really, no one wants a big hunk of strawberry staring up at them from their slice of morning toast, into bite sized pieces.
Okay. So I’ve got a strainer over this pot, and we’re going to cook the lemon and the sugar together just until the sugar melts. As you can see, I’m doing this over the strainer so that all the seeds are caught. Another trick is to use the tongs if your hands aren’t quite strong enough, and then you give it a scrape over the side so you get all that juice.
Now we’re adding four cups of sugar over medium heat. We’re going to stir that together and cook just until the sugar melts. As this cooks down, sometimes sugar crystals form on the side, and with a wet pastry brush, you just want to brush those down so that they don’t burn.
Now that the sugar has fully melted, we can add our strawberries. Again, this is two pounds of sliced, hulled strawberries. Into the pan they go, get every last bit because you worked hard to get those sliced up.
Stir and kind of mash them together, and this is going to cook until it reaches about 220 degrees. We’re going to take a temperature on it. It kind of boils together and thickens up nice.
Okay, so there you have it. Now we’re just going to put them in some glass jars. I find that a wide mouth funnel is really helpful in this process, and you want to use pristinely clean glass jars for this.
Here we go. Scooper out and right into the jar. Now that will settle a bit, but you want to leave about a half inch of space on the top, which it doesn’t look like it’s in there, but really they will settle down a bit.
Now you could seal these and let them cool and keep them in your refrigerator because you’re going to gobble it right up. But if you want it to last for a really long time, you could seal these extremely tightly, put them in a 15 minute, boiling hot water bath, and then let them cool. When the lids pop, you know you have a perfect seal, and you can have these on your shelf unrefrigerated for a year.
We want to make sure that we have a good seal on them, and because these are hot jars and we want to make sure that everything is nice and tight, I have found that dishwashing gloves are a great way to seal it up tight without getting things dirty — your hands, the lids, the jars — because again, these are pristinely clean and stuck together.
So on goes the lid and the ring as tightly as you possibly can, and again, you could let this cool and keep it in your refrigerator, or you could process it in boiling water for 15 minutes, wait until the lid pops, and you can store it on your shelf for up to a year.
Preserving the summer bounty couldn’t be easier. It doesn’t matter whether it’s summer or winter, one of my favorite breakfasts is goat cheese on toast with strawberry jam. That’s really good.
For this recipe, canning and preserving tips and a whole lot more, visit us at YankeeMagazine.com
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