I found myself with an enormous amount of fresh strawberries in my refrigerator that were most definately headed for the garbage if I didn't do something with them! That's usually the way it is after a large party or event. We end up with a large amount of food and search tirelessly for the food to be passed off to friends or family. For those with large freezers it is less of a problem. Living in a small home has never been a problem for me except in cases like this. Food must be eaten and purchased judiciously. There is just no room! So here I was - looking at these gorgeous Connecticut strawberries and knowing that I had to do something and fairly quickly. What to do...
In the past I had canned salsa, blueberries and various spreads. I knew that getting the mason jars out along with all the other canning equipment was pretty much my only option. Once you get going it's not a terrible process, it just demands some preparation. And when I say 'demands', I mean you better be prepared! It's a satisfying feeling to know that you have canned the fruit correctly and that the lids on top of the jars don't 'pop' when you press on them!
I found this simple recipe for Summer Strawberry Jam on one of my favorite recipe websites. Take some time to search through www.AllRecipes.com - you'll probably enjoy the ingredient option! Just type in what 'ingredients' you have to cook with and all sorts of recipes will magically appear! Well, it's not magic, it's a search engine...but you get it. I had to almost triple the recipe because of the amount of fresh strawberries I ended up with. The amount of sugar required is unbelievable, however, there are low sugar recipes out there if you search for them. This little project took up the better part of the afternoon and I couldn't help but think that I was only canning a relatively small amount of strawberry jam. If you want to learn more about all things jam then click on the foodtimeline link!
The women who went before me would spend days canning everything. It was that important. Canning parties were held where women would get together, can and share their bounty with each other. There was a time when a woman's canning pantry was a point of pride. There are wonderful women and organizations that still try to spread the knowledge of canning among women today and will help with any questions. If you're interested in expanding your canning knowledge or are maybe just a little curious, check out www.foodinjars.com and www.canningacrossamerica.com for incredible information and step by step instructions. If you're on twitter follow Food in Jars @foodinjars and Canning Across America can be found @Canvolution.
I won't lie. It was a lot of work for not a very big yield but they do look pretty. In addition to the two jars you see in the picture I had a half full jar. We're eating that now! I recently read that you can 'put up' ingredients for soups, any vegetable you can drag out of your garden and even meats. I'll be doing this again but it will have to be a well organized and well thought out day. And next time I just might wear an apron! When you bring fruit to a rolling boil for longer than a minute while you stir - it splatters - all over.
- Danbury, CT
- I'm a full-time substitute teacher and coordinator of CMT's at a large middle school. Married with two grown sons (both redheads)! I'm not afraid of anything! One son just graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a degree in Journalism - he minored in Cinema Studies. The other just began his freshman year at The University of Hartford where he is a student of the Hartford Art School. We are owned by a smelly, old cat, a frenzied dachshund named Otis and a chinchilla!