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Preserving Strawberries For Your Food Storage
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Preserving Strawberries for Your Food Storage

This weekend, I took my children to the local U-Pick Farm to pick strawberries. The fields were filled with beautiful berries and by the time we stopped picking, we had gathered 14 pounds of strawberries.

14 POUNDS!

What do I do now? Strawberries do not last long in the refrigerator before they shrivel up or mold. I needed to act quickly if I was going to preserve these beautiful berries in their ripest form.

PRESERVING STRAWBERRIES

I had a few ideas on how I wanted to preserve my strawberries.

First on my list was strawberry jam. In the past, I always made freezer jam. This year, I wanted to preserve my jam in mason jars and already had a recipe I wanted to try.

Next on my list was to freeze some of the strawberries whole to use later in the year. Frozen strawberries are good for about a year; more if they don't get freezer burn.

On my want list was to preserve some strawberries sliced in simple syrup (for strawberry shortcakes in the winter). I needed to decide if I was going to preserve them in mason jars or freeze them.

Additional items I considered was canning strawberry syrup in mason jars to use on pancakes / waffles or freeze strawberry puree to make a sorbet. I decided against both of these since I could use the frozen whole strawberries to create them on an as needed basis.

JAM

Strawberry jam is by far my favorite of all jams. Only recently has a mixed berry jam come close in my preferences. However, if I want to make a mixed berry jam this year, I need to ensure I freeze enough of my strawberries so I have them available once blueberries and red (or black) raspberries are in season.

Jam is very easy to make. The simplest kind to make is freezer jam. I made a few dozen jars of it last year in many different flavors. Since it requires no cooking, once you rinse and prepare the fruit, you simply crush or puree it, add sugar and a special freezer jam pectin, mix, ladle and freeze.

Jam in mason jars is also easy, but more time consuming since you must first cook it on the stove, then ladle it into mason jars and boil it in a water bath canner. I would estimate that preserving strawberry jam in mason jars adds about an hour to each batch.

However, mason jars have a big advantage in strawberry jam preservation. Home canned jam has a shelf life of 2 or 3 years when kept in a cool dark area. Although I do have some grape jelly my grandmother made 7 or 8 years ago and it is still good (it was stored in the back of my refrigerator the last 5 years though).

Freezer jam has a shelf life of 12 months assuming there are no issues of freezer burn. My experience with freezer jam is as long as my jar was not too full and the lid was screwed on properly, it was perfect when defrosted. However, I have had a jar crack in the freezer because I overfilled it, so be careful.

FREEZING STRAWBERRIES

Freezing strawberries is very easy, and I find many uses for these whole frozen strawberries.

TIP: Make sure you rinse and hull the strawberries (remove the stems) prior to freezing.

How to use the strawberries while frozen: fruit smoothies, strawberry milk shakes, frozen drinks (strawberry daiquiris anyone?), or simply eaten straight from the freezer. We like to take a frozen bag to the beach or pool. It's very refreshing on a hot summer day.

How to use the strawberries after you defrost them: slice and add simple syrup to use in a strawberry shortcake (or any other baked good), puree and refreeze for sorbet, puree and add simple syrup for strawberry syrup, crush a few strawberries and add it to your lemonade, crush with blueberries and (red or black) raspberries for a mixed berry jam, or make your own strawberry ice cream topping.

SLICED STRAWBERRIES IN SIMPLE SYRUP

I like to preserve a few pints of strawberries already sliced and soaking in simple syrup. There is nothing like pulling a pint from the freezer Saturday night, and eating it summer strawberries on your waffles Sunday morning. Delicious!

You will need to make a simple syrup to preserve the sliced strawberries in. I make a very light syrup (even for my peaches and pears) as a little sweetness goes a long way.

For strawberries, I use 1/2 cups of sugar for every 1 cup of water and heat it on the stove, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Cool the syrup and it is ready for canning.

CHOICES

You have many choices on how to preserve and use your strawberries in your food storage. In addition to preserving them in mason jars or freezing them, some people dehydrate their strawberries.

No matter how you choose to preserve your them, now is the time to do it. So, go pick a few pounds and enjoy the fruits of your labor!


Street Talk

OK, this is the third time this article has hit my inbox. Are you wanting me to preserve my own? lol

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Yes :) I'm surprised at 3, as I thought I only fixed it once...maybe it was twice, it's been one of those weeks :) We picked some more today and made strawberry sorbet...I'll be posting the recipe on my blog later tonight!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

They have been doing that a bit tonight. Probably a glitch

  
  about 7 years ago

I like this one so much!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Maria!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Yum! Yum! Summers coming, tennis, strawberries, cream....:-)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Absolutely, James. It's why I get so excited for strawberry season. It signifies the beginning of summer for me and the wonderful fresh local foods we get to eat, and the BBQs, etc. Fun!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Wiping my chin here..... made me drool.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Here's a tissue, Heather. Thanks for reading :)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Great article AJ. Gotta go get some jam now........

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Shawn. Enjoy!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Looking good AJ...like Rob said...you been busy...

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Kevin. I have been a little busy, but it's been fun and delicious!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Lemuel  

Thank you AJ.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

You're welcome Lemuel. I appreciate your visit!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Man but you're a busy girl, all the options of what to do with 14 lbs. of strawberries, I would have probably eaten most just washed and plenty of cream. How I wish I was there.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Rob, I have eaten MANY strawberries over the last few days. To the point that I'm out of whipped cream! One day soon (probably after my next visit to the field) I'm going to dip some in chocolate for chocolate covered strawberries - my favorite!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

AJ you're only saying that to get under my collar, I should have been there to help you out, you have far too many strawberries for your family I think you need me to help............have a few for me..........please (says he on bended knee)

  
  about 7 years ago

I've had to come back to tell you how cruel you are to even mention this, I had supper an hour ago and now Linda is going to have to go to the shops to buy me a chocolate..........

  
  about 7 years ago
  

Rob, you used to say that reading my articles made you hungry. I've been talking about seeds and dirt for a few months now, I had to give you something to make you hungry again. Strawberries in whipped cream, chocolate covered strawberries, and strawberry shortcake. There, that should help :) Tell Linda I'm sorry. I hope she gets something for herself from the trip!

  
  about 7 years ago

They sound delicious AJ. I hope to get the chance to pick some myself later this season. I really like putting some frozen ones along with some blueberries in my protein shakes after a workout. Great article!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Jay, I highly encourage you to pick a few quarts this year and preserve them. I've added more recipes and instructions on my website to help - go check them out! Frozen strawberries and blueberries in protein shakes. Sounds like something my daughter would love.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Barbara9  

excellent article, AJ

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Barbara.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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