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For Rural and City Living
Strawberry Preserves - So sweet
When all was finally said and done, we had frozen almost 15 pounds of strawberries. Over the years I've discovered that it is much easier to do repetitive batches of jellies, jams and preserves, rather than doing a batch at a time over several days. So with all the strawberries harvested, it was time to make preserves.
The first thing to do was get the berries out of the freezer. Since each batch of preserves required 4 pounds of berries, I got out 12 pounds and placed the bags in the sink to thaw.
The next step was to collect the jars needed. Since my stock pot will hold 6 pint jars at a time, I got 18 pint jars, plus two 1/2 pint jars just in case.
I placed the first six jars in the stockpot and filled it with water completely immersing the jars. I turned the stove on high so the jars would boil and sterilize.
In a small saucepan, I put the lids and covered them with water and turned the heat on medium. Boiling the lids helps soften the sealing ring on the lids, making a good seal almost foolproof.
I put 4 pounds of strawberries in another stockpot and turned the heat on medium. As they finished thawing in the pot, I mashed them with a potato masher. I could have used a blender or the food processor, but a potato masher misses some of the berries during the mashing processing leaving some of the berries intact. Those that have berries in preserves are a sweet treat.
As soon as the berries were mashed, I added a package of pectin and stirred it in until it was totally dissolved.
As soon as the strawberries came to a boil, I added the seven pounds of sugar as quickly as possible.
Setting the kitchen timer for one minute, I let the preserves stay at a rolling boil, stirring constantly. After a minute, it was time to ladle into jar.
Each jar was filled to 1/2 inch from the top. A lid was placed on the jar, along with a ring to hold it in place.
The jar was placed back into the stockpot with the boiling water. After all the jars were filled with preserves and in the boiling water bath, I set the timer for 10 minutes.
Once they had processed for the allotted time, I removed the jars from the water bath and set them on the aluminum counter top to cool and seal.
It was a joy every time I heard the "pop" of a jar sealing as it cooled. All said and done, almost 20 pints of strawberry preserves.
Next up, plum jelly.
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Kat and Kevin Yares
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