“Strawberries Fresh Picked & Put Up!” E.A.T. #3

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:

teresablackburn1@mac.com

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:

Fresh strawberries, no sugar on toasted bread with Kerrygold butter for breakfast.

More fresh berries with turbinado smashed on more toast with butter for lunch.

Nestled in salad greens from our garden & fresh Mozzarella from Lazzaroli’s in Nashville.

I folded some berries into a pint of vanilla ice cream…to make “faux” Strawberry Ice Cream.

Eaten natural.

Strawberry Aqua Fresca..partially frozen berries, fresh lime juice, honey & water blended.

27 comments

  1. I definitely suffer from canning trepidation. This sounds so much tastier than just freezing them whole, and they wouldn’t dry out. Could you use these strawberries to make granita and/or sorbet?

  2. Absolutely..they are perfect for either. Just puree and freeze for granita and for sorbet just add to your other ingredients..all these “canned” frozen berries have in them is a bit of sugar, berries, berry juice & a hint of balsamic…Good idea…I think I will make a sorbet very soon! Thanks.

  3. simplysouthernsundays

    You are just lovely! I’m new to your blog, but I feel as though I’ve known you all my life. Your post remind me so much of my Mama’s side of the family. They are from a very small town in AL. We would spend weeks on my Grandparents farm in the summer “put’n up” veg. from their garden. I can remember my Mama being excited because that meant fresh food during the winter. My Daddy was in construction, so money sometimes got tight. I now get excited when all the fresh produce comes in at the farmers market! Not because our money is tight, but because I LOVE “put’n up” fresh veggies & fruit! It takes me back to many sweet memories!

  4. simplysouthernsundays

    You are just lovely! Your post remind me so much of my family. We would spend weeks on my Grandparents farm in the summers “put’n up” veggies from their garden. My Mama would get so excited because that meant the freezer & pantry would get stocked! My Daddy was in construction & sometimes money would get a little tight in the winter. Now, I get that same excited feeling when the fresh veggies & fruit come in. Not because I “have to” stock the freezer or pantry, but “put’n up” takes me back to precious summer memories. This post has made my heart fill up with JoY!

  5. Oh, those look delicious! We’re still about a month away from strawberry season here. I usually make a big batch of strawberry jam, but this year I’ll have to try this too.

  6. “When you hear the words “water bath” do you shudder?” YES that’s me!
    But I’ll put up with this wonderful easy recipe. Like you I have limited freezer space, and I’m wondering if I could do this recipe but use plastic freezer containers, I know they won’t look as lovely but they are more practical fo rme?

    • I so think you could use plastic containers for this. I really use glass as I can use the same jars over and over for years as long as I use new seals. Glass doesn’t leach or absorb food flavors or oils as well. But if plastic containers is what you have then use them my blogging friend. Just make sure the not fill them or the glass jars all the way to give the food room to expand as it freezes. Good Luck.

  7. angelamroberts

    How did you know I was afraid of canning. Doug also calls it putting up (raised here in Nashville). I have lots of strawberries and I have jars, but are you sure they can freeze. They won’t explode or anything? Because this is a mighty fine idea. We are growing tomato plants and by end of summer I expect a lot and I want to step out into the world of canning.

  8. whitney kemp

    This reminds me of the “freezer jam” my Grandmother Dorothy/Dot or as we called her “Ma” used to make. Even though she has been gone for several years, I still have a jar in my freezer that she made…inedible at this point but a sweet reminder I am just not ready to throw away.

    • Whitney, I got the idea of freezing other, non jam, foods from Ma’s freezer strawberry jam in the first place. I figured it if worked for that it would work for other things and have been doing this for a few years now very successfully. Thanks sweet girl.

  9. maybe i’ll try putting up rather than putting out this season ;)

    beautiful photos as always, Teresa. and anytime we can encourage canning – or putting up – is a good day. i think preserving our own food is instrumental in releasing our dependence on corporate food and making connections with people in ways that we wouldn’t otherwise… very well done :)

  10. I’ll certainly need to come back here when I can also get my hands on some Spring Strawberries.
    In order to capitalize on your very simple method, the colors shown from your berries have to bless my table too ;o)
    Believe it or not, I have yet to eat berries with a fruity vinegar…too attached to Mr.Gran Marnier. LOL

    Have a wonderful week Teresa.

    Ciao for now,
    Claudia

  11. angelamroberts

    Teresa, I wrote a post on strawberry simple syrup. I pinged you for this, used one of your pics (as an alternate strawberry idea) and linked back to you for this wonderful idea. I couldn’t blog this. You did a perfect job.

  12. Pingback: How to Make Strawberry Simple Syrup

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