We had a weird spring, so the strawberry crop was a little weak, but that didn't stop us. We (I) picked a bunch and we (they) ate a bunch, then we came home and cooked a bunch. Strawberry jam was of course on the docket, but this year I also made strawberry fruit roll ups and strawberry syrup. The fruit roll ups were fantastic! I used this recipe, but cut the sugar down to a few tablespoons.
The strawberry syrup, though, that's where it's at. Last year I checked out the book Canning for a New Generation so many times from the library I finally just bought the damn thing. Canning books usually put me off because the recipes are super labor intensive. This book is different. The author, Liana Krissoff, doesn't assume you have any fancy canning supplies, only a big pot and some jars. She even tells you how to make some equipment--throw rubber bands around your tongs and you have a jar lifter! Also awesome is that all of the recipes are for small batches. Some people are into sweating at the stove canning all day, I'm not really big on sweating.
The recipes in the book go from basic to slightly more adventurous. She also includes recipes for using all that stuff you canned, which is always helpful. What I'm saying is, the book is good, check it out! Now back to the strawberry syrup. It is crazy sweet, but I didn't want to mess with the sugar content because I was canning the stuff. We used the tiny bit that didn't fit in the jars for strawberry soda. You only need the littlest bit, because again it is super sweet, and it is also super strawberry-y. Holy crap! Mixed with pamplemousse sparkling water, this is hands down the best soda I've ever had.
adapted from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff
- 4 lbs strawberries, washed and hulled
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1. Bring a large pot of water up to boiling.
2. Submerge three 1/2 pint jars in the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize.
3. Place the jar lids in a heat proof bowl. When you take the jars out of the water pour some boiling water into the bowl with the lids. This will help the lids seal better.
for syrup making
1. Before you start, put a small plate in the freezer
2. Put the strawberries, just the strawberries, in a large pot. Smash them to release their juices. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
3. Place a fine meshed sieve over a large bowl and pour the strawberries into the sieve. Press down on the berries to get all their juice out. In the book there is a recipe for all this lovely strawberry pulp, but you don't need it for this syrup.
4. Rinse out your large pot and pour the strawberry juice in it.
5. Add the sugar and the lemon juice.
6. Bring to a boil. Boil, stirring often. Check if the syrup is done by dabbing a bit on the frozen plate. When it firms up a bit--not like jam, but like syrup (duh)--then it's done. This will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
1. Carefully remove the jars from the boiling water.
2. Ladle the hot syrup into the hot jars, leaving 1/2 room at the top.
3. Wipe off the rims (and anywhere else you have spilled) with a damp towel.
4. Put the lids on and screw them tight (not crazy tight).
5. Return the jars to the boiling water, making sure they are covered by at least and 1inch of water.
6. Boil for 5 minutes.
7. Carefully take the jars out and place them on a towel. Do not disturb them for 12 hours. After about an hour the lids should *thwunk* down. If they don't, put them in the refrigerator and use them within the month.
Makes about three 1/2 pint jars, or two with some leftover to make sodas right away. The book doesn't say, but I'm guessing these are good for 6 months or maybe a bit more. Cheers!