Sunday, June 24, 2007

Strawberry Season

It's late June, which means strawberry crops are at their peak. Canning has recently become a hobby of mine, so this year I decided to take advantage of the local berry farms and pick my own strawberries.

The last time I picked strawberries, I was 11 years old and it wasn't for my own enjoyment--it was for money. The problem was, that summer was a terrible season for berries; the yield was low and what berries were there were half-green. I ended up being very slow at the task because of this, and only spent one afternoon as a berry picker.

Thankfully, it was a much more fun job this time around. The plants were full of berries, and the fruit was so red and juicy--a deeper colour than I've seen in any grocery store. In half an hour, we picked enough to make an 8-jar batch of strawberry jam and fill a giant freezer bag (frozen margaritas, anyone?).

Since this was only my second attempt at canning, I chose to make a basic strawberry jam, courtesy of Bernardin. They're the canning experts, right? Seemed pretty foolproof.

And it was; the jam turned out perfectly--although it claimed to yield 7 jars, it actually gave me enough for 8. Even better! So now I have extra jars to share with my family.

Bernardin Strawberry Jam
3 3/4 cups crushed strawberries, crushed one layer at a time with a potato masher
1/4 c bottled lemon juice
7 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch liquid Bernardin pectin

1. Sterilize cans and lids.
2. Bring strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to a full, rolling boil (one that can't be stirred down). Once this boil is reached, stir constantly for one minute, then remove from heat.
3. Stir in pectin.
4. Immediately ladle into sterilized jars, cover with SNAP lids, and close with rings until fingertip tight.
5. Process jars (boil in hot-water canner) for 10 minutes, depending on altitude.
6. After processing, remove jars from canner and let rest, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Sealed jars have lids which curve downwards; lids that move when you touch them did not process properly--you can keep these in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.


CresceNet January 5, 2008 at 5:01:00 PM EST  
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