Flannel Jammies Farm

...praising God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Canning local strawberries...

It's Strawberry Season in Virginia Beach!!!

I picked up some delicious, ripe, juicy, red-to-the-middle strawberries from Cullipher Farms.  Did I mention that the strawberries are organic.  Yeah.  Organic. Local. Deliciousness.
For Mother's Day, my sweet daughter decided to help me further the dream by getting me a precious Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit.  My height (5') and my health (another topic altogether) make it difficult for me to reach and lift things like a full canning rack from a pot of boiling water.  This little canning kit is perfect!  It's green, which is adorable, and it only holds 3 pint jars... just right for me!
So we got to work.  I found this recipe on the Ball website for Strawberry Lemon Marmalade:

Strawberry Lemon Marmalade   Makes about 7 (8 oz) half pints

1/4 cup thinly slice lemon peel (about 2 large)
4 cups crushed strawberries (about 4 1-lb containers)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
6 Tbsp Ball® RealFruit™ Classic Pectin
6 cups sugar
7 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) COMBINE lemon peel and water to cover in a 6- or 8-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes, until peel is softened. Drain and discard liquid. Return peel to pan.
3.) ADD strawberries and lemon juice to peel and mix well. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
4.) ADD entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if necessary.
5.) LADLE hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
6.) PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. 

How does one crush strawberries?  I wasn't sure, so I cut off the stems and leaves from each berry and then cut them into smaller pieces.  Then, in batches, I put them into a rectangular dish and crushed them with the Southern woman's multi-tool:  the potato masher!

Slightly over 4 cups = 8 half pints
After following the directions for mixing and cooking the strawberry mixture, steps 2 - 4 of the recipe, we were ready to fill the jars.  Watch out... hot strawberry goo can splatter and burn!  Trista brought home the CUTEST squatty-little-wide-mouth-half-pint jars for this project.  We used a funnel and filled the jars, checking the headspace as directed.
After cleaning the rims and placing the lids and rings, we placed the filled jars, 2 at a time, in the green handled basket and lowered them into the boiling water.  Time moves SSSOOOOOOO slowly when you're canning for the first time!  After 10 minutes, we lifted the basket from the boiling water.
So after letting the jars cool and waiting the appropriate 24 hours and checking the seal, we had the most delicious Strawberry Lemon Marmalade EVER.  It was sweet, total ripe strawberry goodness with a crisp lemon finish.  YUM!  One jar out of the 8 we made did not seal properly, so that jar is OURS and is in the fridge to be used now.  (I'm hoping some will be left for my breakfast toast before worship tomorrow.)
We had some tonight on top of pound cake, topped with additional fresh organic berries and whipped cream.  What a wonderful way to end the day!

Go ahead.  Pick some local and organic fruit.  Bring it home and preserve it.  Give it to friends.  Open a jar in the deep midwinter and bask in the warm, sunny memories.  Simple blessing... great joy.


Julia said...

This looks delicious! I have to try this recipe this year:). Thank you!


Harvest Moon by Hand said...

Yum! Definitely something new that I'll be trying this year when the strawberries are ready (about a month from now).

donna rae said...

Thank you both so much... this really is a simple and delicious recipe!

Jennifer said...

I am so glad I saw this post, Donna Rae! I have been wanting to try canning myself and your recipe sounds yummy! And I like those squatty little half-pint jars, too. I am inspired! Thanks :)

donna rae said...

Thanks, Jennifer... we've devoured the first jar already!!!