Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How to Make Strawberry Preserves

On Saturday I took Andy strawberry picking! We had a lot of fun... although he probably ate one strawberry for every two that I picked! His whole face was covered in red strawberry juice when we left! But, I couldn't really blame him... the strawberries were sooooooo yummy! They were perfectly ripe! They were nice and sweet and just delicious! We went strawberry picking with the goal of making some strawberry preserves. I had never done that before, and probably wouldn't have even thought of attempting it if my friends hadn't mentioned it. It was SOOO much fun! It was definitely better canning with friends! My friend Megan was nice enough to let Jaime (my future sister-in-law) and me come over and make the preserves at her house. She had everything we needed "equipment" wise.

Jaime and I brought our strawberries, mason jars with seals and lids, sugar and pectin (we used the Sure-gel brand that calls for less sugar... the pink box). Megan lent her kitchen, canning supplies and LOTS of advice!

We started out washing all the berries and cutting off the stems and slicing the berries in half. We also hand washed all of the mason jars really well and set them on a towel to dry. Megan said that normally she would run them through the dishwasher ahead of time, but we didn't have time for that. You just want to make sure they are good and clean.

We put all of strawberry stems in a container so that they could go into Megan's compost bin.

Next we measured out the sugar... the instructions called for 4 cups of sugar to 6 cups of strawberries... remember, this was the less sugar needed option! It sure looked like a lot of sugar!

We used a Kitchen Aid immersion mixer with the chopper attachment (ummm.... AWESOME!... so jealous that Megan has one... Jaime registered for one for the wedding... I'll be asking for gift certificates for my birthday to put towards getting one!) This was the perfect small appliance to chop the strawberries. You want them chopped really fine, but not pureed. This did the perfect job.
Then we poured the 6 cups of strawberries into the pan and began heating. We mixed 1/4 cup of the sugar with the pectin and added it to the fruit. Here is Jaime stirring the mixture until it came to a rolling boil. Then we quickly poured in the rest of the sugar and added a 1/4 teaspoon of butter to prevent foaming.

Mmmmmm..... almost boiling!

After we poured in the sugar and let it boil for one minute, we used the wide mouth funnel and poured the fruit into the jars leaving a 1/8th of an inch space at the top.

Next, we wiped the rims of all of the jars with a damp cloth and made sure they were clean. Then we used the magnet wand thing and pulled the seals out of the pot of hot water. Oh, ya, I forgot to mention that while we were doing all this, we boiled a pot of water, turned the heat off and put the seals in to sterilize them... okay, so, moving on...

We screwed the lids onto all of the jars...

...then we set the jars into the canning rack that was sitting on the bottom of this giant pot of water.

We covered the pot, brought the water to a full boil and set the timer for ten minutes. Then we turned off the heat and let the cans sit for another 5 minutes before removing them using the special tongs made just for picking up mason jars.

(this was the last batch... out of three... so I'd already taken off the cute aprons Megan had given us to put on. It was fun! It felt like we were in cooking class!)

And our finished product... THREE batches of homemade strawberry preserves!

I tried some on my toast this morning for breakfast and it sure was good! I can't wait to do it again! The next one I would like to try is making some raspberry & rhubarb preserves. There used to be the best breakfast place in downtown Charleston that sold homemade raspberry & rhubarb jam. It was sooooo yummy! I used to give it as gifts. Sadly, they are no longer in business, but I'd like to see if I could make some myself!
The other thing I'm excited about trying to can is tomatoes. Megan was telling me that you can go to one of the nearby farms and pick your own tomatoes for really cheap! I definitely want to go and do that when they are available. I think I'll be investing the $15 in my own canning supplies. Although I think I'll always try and can with friends. It made the night even more fun!


  1. It is fun making homemade jam!! you should try adding some little pineapple bits to your strawberry jam next really brings out a delicious flavor! Carolyn taught me that trick!

  2. oooooh! yummmm! I'll definitely have to try that!

  3. That looks amazing! I definitely want to try making my own preserves this year. Thanks for sharing!!