July 19, 2013

Enjoying & Preserving our Strawberry Harvest

This was the first year we really reaped the reward of our homegrown strawberry patch (and rewarding, it was!)


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. 

Method 2:
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?

11 comments:

  1. i eat mine raw - sometimes sliced with bananas. but i have to buy mine at the store!

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  2. Yummy, yummy! I've never tried freezer jam but it looks much easier than dealing with mason jars.

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  3. Wonderful shots - so delicious!

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  4. Strawberry season is almost over here! But what a great recipie to preserve the berries! If I only had known a couple of weeks ago...I was slaving over a hot stove! Abricots season is starting....it might work with them as well? By the way -wonderful images and thanks for stopping by my blog! Have a sunny weekend!

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  5. You certainly made my mouth water with this post. It all sounds and looks delicious. I'm glad you've had a great strawberry crop this year.

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  6. Your photos are a gorgeous tribute to your efforts in the garden. Amazing.

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  7. I usually use strawberries for smoothies, but I have to get mine in the store.

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  8. Yum, that's my favorite of all berries! Lovely photos.

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  9. The strawberries look so delicious in these photos!

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  10. It all looks so good. Everything. One of my personal favorites is strawberry/rhubarb pie. I did give up raising strawberries a few years ago. Too old and too tired to do the weeding is what is came down to. Now we go to the pick your own strawberry farm....

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  11. We've just enjoyed strawberry season too, but we aren't lucky enough to harvest our own. Now we're on to the other berries, and I'm going to enjoy some quadruple berry jam this winter!

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