Learning how to make preserves is easy, economical, and fills the pantry with delightful jams and jellies. To demonstrate the common method of making preserves, follow the instructions below for making strawberry preserves, which includes the proper way to sterilize canning jars and lids.
To make preserves, you will need:
- 2 lbs. Strawberries
- 5 cups Sugar
- 1/3 cup Lemon juice
- Canning pot with rack
- Canning funnel
- Canning tongs
- Glass jars with lids
- Sterilize the jars. Canning glass jars with lids are readily available at most grocery stores. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy and rinse in hot water. Place the freshly washed jars in a large pot or canning pot filled with water. Bring the jars to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Place the lids in a small saucepan filled with water and bring to a boil. Boil the lid for five minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the lids and jars soaking in the pot and hot water until the moment they are used.
- Prepare the strawberries. Remove the stem and core (hull) of each strawberry and place in a large bowl filled with cold water. Soak the strawberries for five minutes to easily remove dirt. Rinse the strawberries in running water and drain in a colander. Note: For larger pieces of strawberries in the preserves, leave the strawberries whole. For smaller pieces of strawberries in the preserves, slice the strawberries in half lengthwise.
- Cook the preserves. Combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large pot and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Stir constantly and bring to a rolling boil for 15 to 20 minutes until the syrup thickens.
- Fill the jar with preserves. Use canning tongs to remove a sterilized jar and lid from the pot. Place a canning funnel over the mouth of the jar. Fill the jar with strawberry preserves with a ladle. Fill the jar leaving ½ inch head space. Use a clean damp paper towel to wipe spills off the rim of the jar. Tighten the lid on the jar. Repeat until all the jars are filled.
- Process the jars. Fill the canning pot half full of hot water and insert the canning rack into the pot. Place the filled jars in the canning rack inside the canning pot. Add enough hot water to until the water level is two inches over the jars. Bring the water to a boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes.
- Cool the preserves. Place wire cooling racks on the counter. Using canning tongs, remove the jars from the canning rack and place on the cooling rack until completely cooled. Store in a cool dark pantry.
Tips/Warnings: Preserves can be made from any type of fruit. Find a recipe online specifically for the fruit to be preserved. Purchase a canning kit, which includes pot and lid, rack, canning funnel, and assorted canning tongs, to make the process easier. Check the seal on each cooled jar of preserves. Place a thumb in the center of the lid and press down. If the lid pops the jar did not seal properly and the jars should be refrigerated immediately and consumed within 30 days. If the lid does not pop the jar is properly sealed.