Do you suffer from fear of canning? When you hear the words “water bath” do you shudder?
Hold on! Help is on its way…there is more than one way to overcome your fear, your trepidation, your absolute mind block about “canning”…come, I will share with you my fool-proof method to overcome your suffering as part of my E.A.T. (easy as that) series.
“E.A.T. #3 Fresh Picked Strawberries – Put Up”
My Grandmother, on my Father’s side of the family, Kenny Mae, called it “putting up”…as in “we are going to put up some strawberries this morning” or “it’s about time to put up some beans”. So let’s forget the word “canning” for a bit…but we will come back to that a bit later this summer…for now I will share with you my “easy as that” method to “put up” fresh picked strawberries that will calm the fearful, instill confidence in those who doubt, and give the uncertain certainty.
This April has given us an early bumper crop of Strawberries here in middle Tennessee. We are lucky in that the weather has smiled on us, but the moment will be fleeting as the days get hotter and drier.
At our house at this time Wouter & I eat fresh strawberries every day. We go to the Farmer’s Markets and try berries from different counties around us. We eat them rinsed just out of the container, we eat them on crusty toasted bread with butter…(Wouter says that is the classic Dutch way to eat Spring strawberries)…we put them in all of our dinner salads, on granola for breakfast and in drinks.
Here is how to “put-up” strawberries to enjoy later in the year.
What you will need:
4 quarts of fresh picked strawberries, rinsed & drained
Turbinado or Raw Sugar, 3/4 cup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or other interesting fruity vinegar
Glass jars & lids that have been washed in soapy water, rinsed & air-dried
What to do?…it’s e.a.t. !
1. Cap berries. That means take off the green tops & discard. If strawberries are large then cut in half, if small then leave whole. Put all capped berries in a large bowl. Every so often sprinkle a layer of the berries with a few tablespoons of the sugar. Repeat until all berries are capped & sprinkled with sugar. Allow berries to sit for at least 15 minutes.
2. Using a fork smash berries to release juices. Don’t try to smash all the berries, just about half of them.
3. Stir in 2 tablespoons of balsamic or other fruity vinegar.
4. Fill glass jars with strawberries & juice, leaving about 3/4 of an inch of each jar unfilled. (We are going to put the jars in the freezer. Freezing will make the mixture expand.)
5. Put lids on jars snuggly. Place in freezer until you are ready to use for some fabulous treat.
There…now that wasn’t so hard was it? Berries “put up” using this method is the first step to getting over your “fear of canning”. It is a baby step in the world of canning, but a big step for someone like me who just started canning about 2 years ago. This is how I got started. I don’t have a very large freezer so I have to mix this method with the more traditional (water bath) method for some of my goodies. Freezing berries keeps their wonderful color and flavor. They will still be savory enough for salad dressing, yet sweet enough for desserts.
Let me know if you have questions…My little email hotline is open. Just get in touch:
I am here for you. Start out with just a few jars…jump in, don’t be afraid.
A little gallery of how we eat fresh berries & use some of our frozen berries: