Buckets of our strawberries were eaten fresh, bowl after bowl.
Some of them were dipped in this 60 second melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.
But there came a point during the peak of our harvest when I needed to do some preserving to keep up. It's a bonus, to preserve some for later months. (We can't grow much in northern MN most of the year!)
I strongly recommend freezing to canning when it comes to strawberries - in part, because freezing preserves more nutrients. The extra cooking required in canning destroys more nutrients. But I mainly chose freezing to avoid standing over a hot boiling stove during summer heat.
Canning is great for many things that will have a long shelf life.. but freezing is great for strawberries!
These are two ways that we did so.
First, in the form of freezer jam. So fast and easy. And cool.
My sisters have always sworn by the SURE JELL fruit pectin recipe for strawberry freezer jam.
2 cups crushed strawberries, 4 cups sugar, 3/4 cup water, 1 pkg. SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin (See directions on package)
This was so quick & simple, it made me wonder why I've ever made jam any other way. And it has received great praise from the family. In just one week, we've gone through a few jars already, enjoyed on sandwiches, biscuits, toast, & ice cream.
The thing about jam, is that it calls for so darn much sugar!!
So after a couple of batches, I thought - there's got to be a less-sugary way to preserve these awesome, juicy strawberries.
I took my sliced strawberries, put them in pint sized freezer containers, and covered them with a 1/4 cup of sugar. (That same amount of berries calls for FOUR cups of sugar for jam.)
* My sister uses freezer bags, but I used Stor Keeper freezer storage containers (seen above with the green lids.) They are made in the U.S.A., BPA free, reusable & durable. They have a spot to press on the middle of the lid, to remove any air. And they are very reasonably priced! I think I paid around $2 for a 5 pack.Gently jostle the berries in that sugar and let them sit for 15 minutes. The juices & sugar will work together to create a nice syrup.
That's it. Freeze 'em. The syrup prevents the berries from getting freezer burn.
Now we have strawberries ready for shortcakes, pancakes, desserts, or whatever we want to add them to in the coming months.
What do you do with your strawberries?