My girls and I love to make jams and sauces with goodies from the garden. Watch me, Addie and Gigi (with Taylor Swift playing backup in the background) making strawberry preserves in the video above, then follow the steps below to do it yourself with whatever's growing in your neck of the woods.
The Round Pond Guide to Canning
Canning is such a fun and easy thing to do at home; it's a a great way to utilize the bounty of the season, have a taste of summer throughout the year, and spend time with the kids cooking and laughing! For those who haven't tried it before, canning can be intimidating. We know - we felt the same way! But if you follow these steps, you'll be off and running with a stock of homemade strawberry preserves.
- Bring a large, wide pot of water (add water as deep as your jars are) to a low boil and get your jars and lids ready. As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars.
- Pick your ripe strawberries right off the vine.
- Wash your strawberries ... and your hands. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.
- Hull 1 quart of strawberries.
- Measure 2 cups of superfine sugar and juice and zest of 1 lemon into a medium saucepan over low heat.
- Stir ingredients, and let dissolve for 10 min.
- While sugar is cooking, sterilize glass canning jars by gently lowering jars and lids into the pot of water and boiling, covered, for 15 minutes. (note, use tongs or, even better, special jar-handling tongs and a magnetic lid tool to do this)
- Back to recipe: Add strawberries to sugar mixture, stir to combine and cook at a low boil for 20 minutes.
- Take saucepan off heat and mash the strawberries (or not) to your liking. If you want a more chunky/whole fruit preserves, leave cooked strawberries whole. If you wish to have more of a smooth jelly/jam consistency, use a potato masher before putting into jars.
- Ladle preserves into hot jars leaving a good quarter inch of head space in the jar.*
- Run a sterilized knife along the inside of each jar to get rid of any air pockets and wipe off the top of each jar top with a clean towel (drips will prevent the jars from sealing well).
- Put sterilized sealing tops on the jars and screw on lids.
- Submerge jars completely in the hot water and bring back to a boil for 25 minutes.
- Remove jars and set on a clean kitchen towel. As the jars cool, you'll hear the "pop" that tells you they're sealed!
- Keep your preserves in a cool, dark spot and refrigerate after you open ... if you don't eat it all in one sitting!**
*As a rule, hot preserves go into hot jars and cold preserves go into cold jars. All items used in the process of making jams, jellies, and preserves must be clean. This includes any towels used, and especially your hands.
**Do be aware that it's important to have the right amount of acid in a recipe for hot water canning to prevent harmful bacteria, like botulism, from forming. In general, it's OK to play with things like spices in a recipe, but otherwise stick to the amounts of fruit, sugar and acid specified so you're sure to be safe.