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Preserving Strawberries

Preserving Strawberries
            As spring leaves and summer arrives, we have fresh strawberries available to us and for those who want to enjoy this delicious fruit year-round, here are some preserving tips provided by Kansas State University Extension.
            Quantity: A 24-quart crate weighs 36 pounds and yields 18 to 24 quarts. An average of 1 pound makes 1 pint of frozen berries.
            Quality: Freeze the strawberries or preserve them on the day they are harvested for the best quality. They should be picked when they reach an ideal maturity for eating fresh.      Select berries with a fresh sweet flavor, deep uniform color, and firm texture. Smaller, misshapen and seedy berries make good-quality jams.
            Berry Preparation: Remove the caps. Wash 1 to 2 quarts at a time and drain. Do not soak the berries.
            Freezing: Freeze only up to 2 pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer capacity per day.  To make a syrup pack: Mix and dissolve 3 cups of sugar in 4 cups of water. Add
1 cup of this syrup per quart of prepared fruit. For a sugar pack: Mix 3/4 cup of dry sugar per quart of prepared fruit. For dry or tray pack: Simply spread a single layer of strawberries on shallow trays and freeze. When frozen, promptly package the berries and return them to the freezer. To package, fill pint- or quart-freezer bags to a level of 3 to 4 inches from the top, squeeze out the air, leave 1 inch of head space, seal, label, and freeze. Before freezing, the bags may be inserted into reusable, rigid-plastic freezer containers for added protection against puncture and leakage. To use: Thaw the berries at room temperature in the original package. For faster thawing, use a microwave or submerge the berries in cool or lukewarm water.
 
Syrup pack                   Sugar pack                   Dry pack
Calories                        73.0                             97.0                             25.0
Carbohydrates              18.0 g                          24.5 g                          5.8 g
Fat                               0.3 g                            0.3 g                            0.3 g
Vitamin C                     47.0 mg                        47.0 mg                        47.0 mg
Dietary fiber                2.0 g                            2.0 g                            2.0 g
 
            Strawberry Jam: 2 quarts crushed strawberries 6 cups sugar. Yield: About 8 half pints.  Sterilize the canning jars. Wash and crush the berries. Combine the berries and sugar in a large sauce pot. Bring slowly to boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to the gelling point, about 40 minutes. As the mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat. Pour the hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Wipe the jar rims and adjust the lids. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath for altitutudes 1001-6000 feet.  Nutrition per 1 Tablespoon:Calories 39.0, Vitamin C 5.8 mg, Carbohydrate 10.1 g Dietary fiber 0.3 g, Fat 0.0 g.
            Strawberry Rhubarb Jelly: 1-1/2 pounds red stalks of rhubarb (6 cups), 1-1/2 quarts ripe strawberries (fresh or previously frozen, unsweetened), 6 cups sugar, 2 3-oz. pouches liquid pectin. Yield: 7 half-pints. To prepare juice: Wash and cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces. Wash, stem, and crush the strawberries. Puree the fruits in a blender or food processor. Pour the puree into a jelly bag or four layers of cheese-cloth and gently squeeze out the juice. To make jelly: Sterilize the canning jars. Measure 3-1/2 cups of juice into a large saucepan. Add sugar and mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Immediately stir in the pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; quickly skim off the foam. Pour the jelly immediately into hot canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Wipe the jar rims, adjust the lids, and process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath for altitudes 1001-6000 feet.  Nutrition per 1 Tablespoon: Calories 47.0 Vitamin C 5.5 mg, Carbohydrate 12.0 g, Dietary fiber 0.8 g, Fat 0.0 g.
            Storage of jams and jellies: After the processing is completed, remove the jars from the canner with a jar lifter and place on a towel or rack. Do not retighten the screw bands. Air-cool the jars for12 to 24 hours. Remove the screw bands and check the lid seals. If the center of the lid is indented, wash, dry, label, and store the jar in a clean, cool, dark place. If the lid is unsealed, examine and replace the jar if defective, use new lids, and reprocess as before. Wash the screw bands and store separately. Jams and jellies are best if consumed within a year and are safe as long as the lids remain vacuum sealed.
            Uncooked Strawberry Jam-Freezer Jam: 1-3/4 cups prepared fruit (about 1 quart fully ripe strawberries)
4 cups (1-3/4 lbs.) sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin
Yield: 4-1/3 cups or about 5 8-fluid-ounce containers
            First prepare the fruit. Stem and thoroughly crush, one layer ay a time, about 1 quart of strawberries. Measure 1-3/4 cups into a large bowl or pan. Then make the jam. Thoroughly mix the sugar into the fruit; let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice to the fruit pectin in a small bowl. Stir into the fruit. Continue stirring 3 minutes. (A few crystals will remain.) Ladle quickly into scaled containers, filling to within a 1/2 inch of the tops. Cover at once with tight lids. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours; then store in the freezer. Small amounts may be covered and stored in the refrigerator up to three weeks. Nutrition per 1 Tablespoon:Calories 72.0 Vitamin C 8.0 mg, Carbohydrate 18.6 g,  Dietary fiber 1.3 g, Fat 0.05 g.
            For more information on preserving strawberries visit our website at http://extension.usu.edu/juab/htm/family/preservation.

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