My mother-in-law makes wonderful preserves. She learned from her Grandmother and they turn out delicious every time. Today I got my new Blue Ball Preserving Book in the mail at the suggestion from my cousin who is really fabulous at canning and preserving.
I decided to make the Heirloom Preserves which happens to be the exact method my mother-in-law told me about.
Heirloom Strawberry Preserves
3-16 oz packages of sliced fresh strawberries
5 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Clean the strawberries and remove the stems. Slice them and place them in a non-metallic bowl covering them with sugar.
Stir and coat the strawberries with the sugar, cover with plastic wrap and allow them to sit on the counter top for at least 4 hours or overnight.
After they're nice and juicy, pour the strawberries, juice and any undissolved sugar into an enamel pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Add the lemon juice and continue to stir. Simmer for about an hour.
Place a plate into the freezer to chill. After about an hour, pour a spoonful of the strawberry syrup onto the chilled plate and run your finger through the middle. If the two sides stay separate, then the strawberry preserves are ready to be jarred. If not, then continue to simmer the strawberries and repeat the plate test.
Pour the preserves into sterilized jars and top with cleaned (preferably new) lids and rims, leaving 1/4" space at the top. (This amount of strawberries will equal 4 half pint jars or 2 pint jars.) Now at this point, my mother-in-law turns her jars upside-down on the counter on a dish towel, covering the jars with another dish towel to keep a draft from them. Allow them to cool and turn them over. They should "pop" at this point to let you know they've sealed properly. OR you can place the filled jars into a water bath and let them process for 15 minutes.
Any unsealed jars should be placed in the fridge and eaten within a week.
These are so good!
(Disclaimer - I am NOT a professional in the realms of preserving or canning. I totally suggest you get the Ball Blue Book for all the details and step by step instructions of canning and preserving. With that said, these are delicious and bet they would be completely divine over vanilla ice cream...)
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