Friday, April 13, 2007

Food Porn Friday!!!

Strawberries


It is getting to be almost that time again up here in the mountains.

When I first moved here, I was delighted to find wild strawberries growing all over the farm. These were the smallish and very sweet berries I remembered from my childhood and my time in the UK. English strawberries are truly something special. They take forever to gather enough for a few half pints of preserves but you can't find strawberries like this for sale anymore. You really have to go pick them.

My aunt Emmy Jo, shown on the left standing to the right of my grandmother, Rose, had a recipe for strawberry preserves that was a favorite of the entire family. They had to be eaten quite soon after she made them since the home canning technique from that time wasn't as safe as the current techniques. As I became more and more interested in canning, I started going through many of my family's old canning recipes and tested until I got a safe versions of the old recipes.

Her strawberry preserves were one of the first one's I tried to convert. Unfortunately, because of the large, watery nature of current commercial berries, this recipe is not as productive as it once was. I remember Aunt Emmy Jo's cupboard being filled with jars of these berries. My purchase of two gallons of berries from the local producer yielded only six pints.

But, if you pick your own, you can select those smaller, less watery berries that most people overlook.

This is my safe version of Aunt Emmy Jo's Strawberry Preserve recipe.

Emmy Joe's Strawberry Preserves

2 quarts of strawberries
2 tablespoons vinegar(or lemon juice)
1/2 package of liquid pectin
3 cups sugar

Wash, stem and drain well two quarts of strawberries. Put the berries in a pan over low fire and cook slowly until all juices appear to be extracted from berries. Add two tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice. Never stir the berries. Skim berries from juice and set aside. To one cup of juice, stir in 1/2 package of liquid pectin. Bring to a boil then add three cups of sugar. Bring to a rolling boil then add the berries, let . boil for one minute. Pour into sterile jars and seal. Place in a boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes. Berries will regain their original plumpness and color. Jars will need to be turned several times as they cool. Never make more than two quarts in one batch.
Emmy Jo Davis Brooks

But I'm starting to gear up for strawberry season. Mostly, I enjoy them fresh and just by themselves. They are lovely in fresh yoghurt.

Do you have any strawberry memories or favorites? Just one more month for my area!

4 Comments:

  1. bluemountainmama said...
    we've already had some of those small, sweet beries that we bought at the local redneck mall, as i call it. it's a big indoor flea market. i'm not sure where they came from, though....

    those preserves look delicous! my mom always canned, but i don't know how to. on my "to learn" list when we get settled somewhere.....
    Hayden said...
    oh yum!

    did you ever try the 3 day recipe? if not, I'll have to dig it out. Like most 'long' recipes it doesn't take that much work time, but theres 'rest' periods for the berries to plump overnight.
    Karen said...
    Is there anything more beautiful than a row of full home-canned jars? It doesn't even matter what's in them (tho these strawberries are probably the prettiest). I can apricot jam, stewed tomatoes, and chili sauce and I set the jars out on the counters as decoration for weeks! I feel productive and the colors are so beautiful.

    I've been thinking of you for the past few nights while curling Katie's hair in ringlets for the school production of The Little Princess--Katie plays one of the pupils and has to have her hair in stiff little Victorian curls. I'm not that good at ringlets! Last night was opening night--the play was wonderful and the ringlets held up just fine...
    Rosie said...
    Thanks all, yes they are a really pretty preserve.

    Hayden, this recipe in its original form is one of those "long" recipes. My interpretation of the USDA canning standards tell me that this is no longer considered a "safe" canning method. It's just fine for freezer jams, but I wanted to get the same effect with the safety.

    Hey Karen, those curls can be challenging if you don't have a marcel grip curling iron. You can get them by rat tying before bed, but those can be frizzy. Glad it worked well for you

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