Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Means Strawberries!

My husband brought home a flat of these on Monday:

  Strawberries = SUMMER!

There is a small farm stand in Napa on the Silverado Trail. Every year my man brings home strawberries from this stand and every year I turn a bunch of those berries into this:

Strawberry Preserves

I spent a good portion of the day on Tuesday making strawberry preserves. There were so many berries in that flat that I ended up making two separate batches. This is a good thing since everyone in the family now expects strawberry preserves every summer :)  I ended up with about 29 half-pint jars. It's so good on buttered toast, mixed into plain yogurt or on ice cream.

In the past I've used the Barefoot Contessa's recipe (it's good - but I add pectin to it), but this year's recipe came from this book:

Putting Up by Stephen Palmer Dowdney. I do a lot of canning (including pressure canning) and I'm always on the lookout for interesting canning recipes. His recipe for strawberry preserves is delicious.
One comment that I'd like to make about this book is that he uses the hot-pack inversion method quite a bit. I have used this method and been successful with it, but I do prefer the hot water bath when I make jams or preserves. I trust the Ball canning methods and mostly stick to them. I'll use this book for recipes, but process them in the traditional way. I'm looking forward to trying his recipe for Sweet Potato Butter (which can be made into an easy pie!), Garden Vegetable Soup, Charleston Creole Sauce, and Pickled Asparagus.

Here's the Strawberry Preserves recipe from Putting Up (hopefully he won't mind me sharing it)

Strawberry Preserves:
10+ cups strawberries - tops removed, diced or quartered (next time I'll use around 12 cups)
1 Tbs butter
1/2 C fresh lemon juice
2 boxes powdered pectin (2/3C)
14 cups sugar (yes..14 cups!) divided into two batches of 7 cups each

Prep your jars.
Add all ingredients except for the sugar to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Once a boil is achieved, add one 7 cup batch of sugar. Bring it to a boil again until it can't be stirred down. Then add the second batch of 7 cups of sugar. Bring to another rolling boil and boil for 2-3 minutes testing for jell after two minutes. Once it passes the jell test, can it and process. As mentioned above, he uses the inversion method. I like the hot water bath method.

So yummy and worth the effort!

p.s. I did a little math on this. It cost roughly $1.40 per jar for me to make these preserves, so I think it was well worth it. I didn't include the cost of the jars because those can be reused. Although...they do disappear when I give canned goods away. 
Happy Day!

Who's a Bad Blogger??

Oh...I am! It's been way to long since I've made a post and I have no excuse other than that time flies! Well that...and I've been captivated by these two girls...

My neighbor's mom got two baby chick as Easter "play things" for her granddaughters. It was all good until the chicks got to be a little big and a little to much work. So, I adopted them.. :)

I love these girls! Two Buff Orpintons...and they are adorable and sweet...and oh so pretty. These gals are like Siamese twins. They are always together. They are around 14 weeks old now. Their favorite snacks are grapes and cheese!

The other day I went to let them out of the coop and I found them cuddled up like this:

Enjoying the morning sun.
Happy Day!