Thursday, May 26, 2011

What will 8 quarts of strawberries make?

So I bought 8 quarts of strawberries this weekend for roughly $50. I transformed those strawberries into jam, butter and dehydrated treats. We are gearing up for our first family camping trip, so I am sure not all the dried stuff will make it to the winter but the jam and butter will.

We used 4 quarts of strawberries to make 3 pints of utilatarian jam. This is our basic, no frills, eat it on pb and toast jam. It is not fancy, it does not go into pretty jars and it does not get given away. It is a soft spread that borders on syrup because I am still not great with no pectin gel points, but the end result is delicious! The end result is also pure Hudson Valley jam, as I used our good honey to make it. Have I talked about this honey? Dear god it is like sunshine on the tongue, I am excited to try the different honeys that a new seller at the market has to offer.

Everyday Jam (adapted from the Ball Book of Canning)
4 quarts strawberries
2 cup or so of Honey (you can't really taste the honey but I found it brings out the strawberry freshness more than sugar- almost like it makes the tastes more clear- the original recipe calls for 2 quarts berries to 6 cups sugar)

Mash the berries into pot one layer at a time, add the honey, bring to boil. Boil until gel point is reached. Put hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace and process for 15 minutes.
Made 3 pints and a little bit extra for the fridge

It took FOREVER to get even near the gel point. These strawberries had so much liquid in them, which I think will be an overall problem this year because of the tons of rain we have had. I may attempt a jelly this year because of the amount of liquid I could get!

I used another quart to make a strawberry/apple butter. We still have plenty of applesauce in the pantry so I added 1 quart of apple sauce to 1 quart of mashed strawberries, cooked down to thicken and processed. The butter took a million years to thicken (ok really like an hour or so) and I should have done it in the crockpot to make it thicker, but it looks like it should be ok- and hey if it is not that thick and buttery we'll use it anyway!

Strawapple Butter
1 ish quart applesauce (we used what was left over from making apple leather so a little less then 1 full quart)
1 quart mashed berries

add both to large saucepan, boil and then boil some more until mixture thickens and rounds up on spoon. Spoon hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace process 10 minutes. Made 3 half pints.

We then used 2 quarts to dehydrate. That's easy just slice them and put them in the dehydrator. We had the dehydrator also making apple leather out of 2 quarts of applesauce, and drying out a quart of last year's preserved in water cherries.

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