IF THERE’S ONE FOOD of this season that everyone would like to savor a little longer, it’s strawberries. The succulent fruit is only around for about a month, and let’s face it, a California strawberry, organic or not, never tastes as sweet. Luckily, strawberries are one of the easiest foods to preserve, and there are a number of ways to do it. If you pick your own, fresh strawberries are very affordable, so much so that you’ll probably get carried away and pick far more than you can eat fresh. So we asked Marnie MacLean for her suggestions on saving the strawberry season. She offered two simple and delicious solutions—classic strawberry jam and whole frozen strawberries (accompanied by a great recipe for frozen strawberry margaritas).
Marnie’s Classic Strawberry Jam
- 2 quarts fresh strawberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar (more if you like your jam sweeter)
- 2 teaspoons Pomona pectin
- makes 4 to 5 cups
- Glass canning jars and lids, sterilized for 5 minutes in boiling water.
- Canning jar “lifter” for removing sealed jars from boiling water (useful, but not necessary).
- Remove hulls from the berries and mash completely.
- Bring strawberries and lemon juice to a boil over medium heat (about 5 minutes).
- Add pectin and sugar, stirring to dissolve, and bring to a boil again.
- Remove from heat and spoon the jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch air space at the top.
- Place lids on the jars and process for 5 minutes in boiling water.
- Remove jars from the water and tighten the lids. Store jars in a cool dark place.
- Remove the green hull from the strawberries.
- Place whole strawberries in Ziploc bags and freeze.
Marnie notes: “If the berries are ours, you never need to wash them and you don’t want them to be wet when you freeze them. We enjoy them all winter for breakfast thawed out half way over the wood stove. For a real energy booster, they are great mixed with milk or yogurt, other berries, spirulina and honey in the blender.”
Marnie’s Strawberry Margarita
- 1 quart frozen strawberries,
- 2 cups lemonade or lemon juice
- a little bit of sugar
- Tequila (the amount is a personal thing!)
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend to desired consistency.