As promised this time we will make Strawberry Jam, Jelly and Syrup. Remember we are going to use the les than perfect fruit, medium and small sizes. There is no such thing as a bad Strawberry, just ones that don’t work in our Preserves. You need to have several baskets of fruit to work with to make all 3, if you just want one, just a few baskets. If you don’t have fresh berries, you can use frozen berries from your grocery.
Place all the fruit in a large bowl or pot, then take your potato masher and get busy on the fruit. Don’t stop till you have no whole strawberries left, really the more mashed the better. You can also use a food processor. We are going to use the solid part of the fruit for our jam. For the jelly and Syrup, we are going to use juice. What? You didn’t think you can get juice from strawberries. When you eat Strawberry Shortcake, the juice is what makes the cake so good.
After you get your mashing done, let the pulp sit over a bowl with a colander in it. Cover the bowl and place in the bottom of your fridge. If you have room, let it sit over night. The next day you will have some juice in the bottom, pour that juice off and keep it. Save the juice to use in jelly and syrup.
In a good sized pot put 6 cups mashed pulp and add 1/4 cup lemon juice (not the little plastic lemon kind), 1 box of Pectin. Cook til you have a rolling boil and then add 6 cups sugar. Stir till all the sugar dissolves. When it comes back to a rolling boil, time for 1 minute. Remove from heat or turn off gas. Stir just a little more to make sure nothing is sticking. Skim the foam off the top. Prepare your jars. then ladle your jam into the jars til 1/4 inch from top. Clean the jar tops and place a sterile dome the a ring. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and let sit overnight. Check for unsealed jars, they have to be reprocessed with clean domes. You now have Strawberry Jam. That wasn’t hard was it? It was pretty straight forward. Cooking award-winning jams and jellies etc.. is not hard to do. The only problem is when you try to skip steps or take shortcuts. Remember, Garbage in-Garbage out. Use good fruit and you will come up winners every time.
Take the juice that you made and measure it. For jelly you will need 4 cups of clear juice, if you don’t have juice with pieces of fruit, strain it. If you don’t have enough, take a freezer baggie and write Strawberry juice, date and amount. Keep working with more jam till you get enough juice. (If your berries turn out to not be very juicy, bring to a boil 2 cups water and 6 cups crushed fruit simmer for about 5 minutes. Let cool then strain.) When you have enough, put 4 cups juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 box pectin in a large pot. Bring to boil then add 6 cups sugar. Stir till all sugar is dissolved. When you have a rolling boil, time for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let sit for a couple of minutes. Use a skimmer or a spoon and remove any film on the top, also anything else floating. Put in prepared jars up to 1/4 inch from top. Process 10 minutes and let sit over night. Check for unsealed jars. If you have any, reprocess. You will love the way the jelly looks. So very red. So clear. Be careful, don’t be satisfied with just jelly and jam. Now we are going to make syrup.
You are not going to believe how simple it is to make Strawberry Syrup for ice cream or pancakes or waffles. You can also use this to make a Strawberry Coke (or Pepsi or what ever).
Take 6 cups of strawberry juice, uncooked, this is important. Add 3 cups sugar and 3 cups light corn syrup. Corn Syrup is on the syrup isle at your grocers. It is clear and very thick. Use a spatula and get as much out of the measuring cup as possible. Combine all the ingredients boil and then simmer slowly till it is the consistency you like. Remember it is very hot, so be carefull. I use bottles to put my syrup in, if you don’t have any bottles, you can use a jar. If you use a jar, process it to make sure it stays good. Next time you get a chance, use your syrup and wait for the compliments. If you like pieces of fruit in your syrup, feel free to add some at the start.
You have now made 4 different things with your strawberries. That is what you might call being thrifty. You have no waste except for the core and the stems. You have turned a corner in your home-made work. You now can make Apple Butter, Pepper Jelly, Strawberry Jam, Jelly and Syrup and Preserves.
Our next project has not been decided, if you have any suggestions, please send them.One has been to do Pepper Relishes with the leftovers from our Pepper Jelly. Anyone else?