Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's My "Berry" Favorite Time of the Year! Freezing and Preserving Strawberries

Each flat contains 12 pints.
Strawberries are my favorite fruit and they are in season!  The second largest strawberry farm in Mississippi is nearby and we stopped by their stand and picked up two flats (24 pints).  I spent today capping and slicing the berries for freezing and for preserves.  I can remember helping my grandmother with canning and preserving, but these are the first I've made on my own, at least to my remembrance.

Many recipes call for pectin which will help the preserves jell more consistently, but I chose to forego the pectin and count on the syrup to set up on its own.  The preserves will be more "soupy" but I like the clear, clean flavor of just the berry, sugar, and lemon.

Wash the berries through several changes of water.
Rinse strawberries thoroughly.
Remove the cap from each berry and slice into 1/4" slices.
Don't forget to compost the caps.
Two pints after capping and slicing.
The first 6 pints I "sugared down" to make preserves (10 cups for 6 pints of fruit).
Stir until well-mixed.
Set aside for 3 or 4 hours.
Go ahead and put the strawberries and sugar into a stock pot.
Meanwhile, I sliced and capped the remaining berries and "dry" packed (no sugar) them into zipper freezer bags, 2 cups at a time.  After removing 6 pints for the preserves, I was able to freeze 13 pints of sliced berries.

Don't forget to "burp" the air from the bag!

Once the strawberries and sugar have macerated, add 2/3 cups of lemon juice to the strawberries.
Fresh lemon juice is perfect for the job!
Cook until berries are translucent and sugar is dissolved.

Stir often.
Choose a large pot as it will "foam up" about
three times its original volume before the foam recedes.

Spread into a flat pan, and refrigerate uncovered for 12-24 hours.

Sterilize 12 half-pint jars in boiling water of a water bath canner.
Use the boiling water bath canner
to sterilize jars.

Reheat strawberries, then spoon into sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4" head space.  

Be sure to clean the jar lips with a wet cloth
 to ensure a good seal.

Seal with two-part lid and process in water-bath canner for 20 minutes.  
The rings should only be finger-tight so that air may escape from the jars.

Makes 12 half-pints.

Tighten the rings after removing the hot jars from the canner.
Two days' work for 12 half-pints of strawberry preserves.  Was it worth it?  Each jar, including the cost of fruit, sugar, lemons, and jars/rings, cost $2.30, which is comparable with the ready-made found in the grocery store.  Not included in that cost is the comfort of knowing exactly what is in my food, and the satisfaction of making my own food, even if I did not grow it myself.  Definitely worth it.  

So, the canning season has begun!  Check back for more adventures!

What's cooking in your Savory kitchen?


Consult the Ball Blue Book
for more information.


  1. Looks mighty good! I am a strawberry lover too!

    1. Thank you, Dolly! Your Freezer Jam recipe looks so good! Strawberries are a special treat, aren't they!

  2. Are strawberry season isn't for a few more weeks.
    I love strawberry jam and make the Old Fashioned Jam as well.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh, I would hate to have to wait any longer. Fresh strawberries are just the taste of spring! I hope they're ready soon!

      Thanks for reading!


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