It's strawberry season! I absolutely love straw berries. Fresh ripe juicy sweet pieces of awesomeness. I tend to go "all in" when strawberry season comes around. Last year I wasn't able to take advantage of the season so this year my intentions are to make up for it. I made strawberry jam year before last and am now eating from the last jar. Can't be running out ... that just won't do! It's definitely time to make some more since it is our favorite jelly around here. Making jellies and jams is pretty easy. As with everything that I can or dehydrate it is always prepping the food that is the hard part. The actual preservation is the easy part.
One of my favorite ways to eat strawberries, other than plain, is to cut the stem out and slice them into a bowl. Then I sprinkle a little sugar on them, cover them up and let them sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. They make their own yummy juice while sitting there. They are great just like that but what I really like to do is to make angel food cake, sponge cake or shortbread and top it with the strawberries. If you have whipped topping so much the better!
There are sooo many recipes out there for strawberry jelly. Most call for using pectin. The recipe that I use doesn't call for it. It still makes great jelly! It's another one I found from Allrecipe.com. I Love that site! I also love this recipe. I did tweak it just a little though. It is super easy to make and tastes wonderful! The original recipe can be found HERE. This makes about 5 1/2 pint jars.
2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
In a big bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of berries. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C). You are going to have to watch the pot, as it will want to boil over. Skim off the foam and ladle into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch head space, wipe the rim of the jar and seal. It may seem a little "thin" but will thicken as it cools. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don't bother with processing, and just refrigerate.
To test for jelling
Place three plates in a freezer... after about 10 minutes of boiling place a tsp of the liquid of the jam onto the cold plate. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate... if it doesn't try to run back together (if you can make a line through it with your finger) it's ready to be canned!
Grab some toast and give it a try! There is usually one jar left that isn't quite as full as the others so you might as well enjoy it! I promise, you won't believe the great flavor this jelly has!
~~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin" ... ~~~~
PS Notice the "film" on the jars? That's from hard water. I forgot to add a bit of vinegar to the water before canning. It doesn't hurt anything, it just looks weird!