I picked up a flat of fresh strawberries last week at the Florida Strawberry Festival. A flat was $10, and it was a deal I couldn’t pass up. The strawberries were large and ripe, and the aroma of freshly picked strawberries filled the car. I thought about all things strawberry on the ride home and started making plans for the strawberries.
There are a number of methods available for making preserves. This recipe is a variation of my grandmother’s strawberry jelly recipe. It has just the right amount of sugar. Unlike jelly or jam, I roughly crush the strawberries before cooking, leaving large or whole strawberries. The crushed strawberries, including any large pieces, will rise to the top of the jar once processed. We usually leave the preserves like this, but stir the preserves in the jar if you prefer more jelly than fruit.
- 5 cups crushed strawberries (about 8-10 cups whole berries)
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, seeds removed (about ½ medium lemon)
- 7 cups sugar
- 1 package (1.75 ounce) powdered fruit pectin
- 8 Ball 8-ounce jars with lids and rings
- Waterbath canner (21½ quart with rack and cover)
- Jar funnel, jar lifter, and magnetic lid lifter
- To prepare jars: Wash jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water. Put jars in the waterbath canner, and cover completely with water. Bring a simmer (don't need to boil). In a small saucepan, add lids and bring to a simmer. You don't need to add the rings. It is important to keep jars and lids hot or your preserves might not seal.
- To make the preserves: Wash and prepare strawberries. Remove the hull and slice in half. Place strawberries in a deep bowl or pot and crush using a potato masher. Crush enough strawberries until you have 5 cups of crushed strawberries. Leave in pieces of strawberry. In a six or eight quart saucepan, add crushed strawberries and lemon juice. Stir, or whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir sugar in quickly, all at once, and return to a full rolling boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Remove any foam that has settled on top of the hot mixture.
- To process the preserves: Remove one jar at a time from the canner. Empty the water in the jar back into the canner. Fill jars within ¼ or an ⅛ of top. Wipe jar lids and threads. Center lid on jar, add ring, and screw tightly. Place all jars in canner. Add enough water to cover by at least one inch and increase heat to high. Once the water reaches a full boil, cover and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid. Allow jars to rest for 5 minutes, then remove from pot. Let cool completely before storing.