Strawberry Preserves

As I recently shared, my husband and I took our two-year old strawberry picking for the first time. We harvested a little under 30-lbs of strawberries, all from a local farm that offered a relaxing, quiet picking session. The berries were so delicious, bursting with flavor and dripping with sweet juice!

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We enjoyed eating them fresh, often unable to eat just one, and put up four pints of whole strawberries in syrup, to be used for pies, tarts and other fun desserts.  The other recipe that we tried out this year was for strawberry preserves, and we were able to can (5) pints of it. The preserves are sweet and jammy, but still feature the bright freshness of the strawberry, accentuated by the lemon zest.

Strawberry Preserves

Yields: 4 pints

Ingredients:

6-lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
3-cups white sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2-tablespoons lemon zest
Directions:

  1. Add sugar and strawberries to a large, non-reactive stock pot. Simmer for 5 minutes, then drain strawberries out.
  2. Return berry juices to the pot, and reduce down until there is only about 3-cups left, and the juices have thickened into a surup. Depending on how juicy your strawberries are, this should take 30-40 minutes.
  3. Add strawberries, lemon juice and zest back to the pot, and continue to cook for another 20-25 minutes, or until the jam has thickened. This may again vary, depending on the water content of the berries. One of my batches thickened in about 20 minutes, while a second  batch took over half an hour! Just be patient and stir occasionally, keeping an eye on the consistency.
  4. Ladle into jars, and process in a water bath for 5 minutes.
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