In Tennessee, fresh strawberries are soon to come, their small white flowers giving way to ripe fruit. They are especially juicy, finger-staining when picked, fleeting in the pleasure they bring.
But, some of that pleasure can be simply preserved.
For our Nashville Earth Day Festival, I demonstrated some basic methods in “Yes We Can Can”—a beginners guide to the seemingly daunting home canning process.
As a novice canner myself, I find that sometimes newcomers to an art are more helpful in Demystifying the Daunting: In other words, if I can do this, so can you!
This recipe for Strawberries in Syrup requires nothing more than ripe berries, sugar, and fresh lemon. There’s no pectin for thickening, as you would use for jellies or jam.
So, it’s a tetch thinner than what you find in the stores, but perfect for spooning over ice cream, shortcake, (or, as seen here, BOTH!) pancakes, and the like. Or spread over a piece of hot buttered sourdough toast…
And the flavor—ahhh—intensely strawberry. Not too sweet: the lemon giving it a nice boost before it disappears into the background.
Now, for preserving: The equipment list isn’t long.
Mason jars, lids, rings,
a big pot for your boiling hot water bath
Tongs to pull out the processed jars,
rack for the big pot’s interior
A wide-mouthed Funnel to guide your pouring
Time involved–about an hour. Really.
Not a bad trade-off when you consider how nice those berries in syrup will be tomorrow, or next November…
Strawberries in Syrup
2 qts. fresh Strawberries, washed, stemmed, hulled
2 1/2 cups Sugar
Juice from 1 Lemon
Quarter strawberries and put into a 3 qt. saucepan on medium heat. Stir in sugar and lemon juice. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off foam as it accumulates on the surface. You’ll want a nice, clear syrup, and this removes any impurities. Sugar will cook into the juices and thicken somewhat.
Have mason jars washed in hot soapy water, rinsed well, and dried. Have big pot filled with water to cover the jars by about 2 inches. Bring this to a boil.
Fill jars with strawberries and syrup, leaving a half inch gap at the top. Wipe the rims and place the sealing cap on top. Put on the ring bands and tighten.
Lower into the boiling water. Set timer for 10 minutes and process. Remove the jars and let cool. Soon, you will hear the distictive POP sound of the seal being made. Hurray!
Any extra strawberries and syrup can be kept in the refrigerator and enjoyed during the week to come.
Makes 5 half pints (or 2 pints and 1 half pint)
These cakes can be made in a snap, and use ingredients so basic to the pantry. They are rather receptive to the syrupy goodness… and the melting ice cream.
Basic Genoise Cakes
4 Eggs, room temperature
4 T. melted Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup All Purpose Flour, sifted twice
1/8 t. Salt
1 t. Vanilla
1-9″ round cake pan, greased -or-
4-6 small ramekins or brulee ovals
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs with salt, vanilla, sugar until tripled in volume. Fold in melted butter and flour. Pour into greased baking pan(s) and bake for 15 minutes, if using individual ramekins, or 20-25 minutes if using 9″ round cake pan.
When cooled, remove from pans. Serve with vanilla ice cream and strawberries in syrup.