04 May 2012

Food Storage Friday: Strawberries!

I just thought that title sounded fun.  I am happy that it is Friday though.  I'm also happy that I have no more strawberries sitting in my house, waiting for me to do something wonderful with them before they self-destruct.  Our local grocery store had a great deal on a flat of strawberries and pectin, so naturally, I along with every other woman in the area decided to make jam.  My husband was thrilled, since he's not been too big on my mock raspberry jam.  He would never have known my secret ingredient if he hadn't come home early.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get to those strawberries for two days and by the time I did get to them, they were going downhill fast.  I hate wasting so much fruit.  About that time, I ran across this little tip to keep strawberries fresher, longer.  So of course, I had to go buy another flat of strawberries to try it out.  This time, I went through the strawberries sooner.  I washed them and sorted out the berries that needed immediate action and put the rest aside.  I don't know if it was washing them in vinegar, or being more diligent in taking care of them, but this bunch of strawberries did much better.

It occurred to me, as I was stirring in those ridiculous amounts of sugar, that I should find a more healthy way to enjoy this spring-time fruit later on.  I know there are low-sugar and no-sugar jam recipes out there, but I never think of them until I'm elbow deep in strawberries, pectin and sugar.  Even though I know that sugar is the main ingredient in jam, I'm just always blown away at how much!

Apparently, I'm not the only one with strawberries on my mind, because a friend pinned this blog about drying fruit.  And the lightbulb came on!  I have never tried dehydrating strawberries, but I don't know why.  It is so easy!  Well, except for the slicing uniformly part.  If I had an egg slicer, it would have been easy-peasy, but I had to free hand it.  I tried a few.  My husband ate them on his cereal and asked for more.  So I made more and then more.  I'm thinking of running back to the store again to see if the deal is still on so I can make even more, but that would mean sorting strawberries again.  I'm not even sure how many strawberries I dried, but I have about 6 cups of the yummy snack sitting on my pantry shelf.  If my daughter finds the stash, it will be gone quickly.  She already finished off the dried apricots from last fall as well as most of the peach fruit leather.  It's such a healthy snack, I don't really mind her eating them, but I would like them to last a few months!

My total (so far) tally of preserved strawberries:

6 cups dried
5 pints canned jam
13.5 pints freezer jam

I think I will pedal on down to the store again when the little one wakes up from her nap... or maybe not.

Now that the sale is over, I found some more recipes for preserving strawberries.
No sugar strawberry freezer jam
Low sugar freezer jams
Dried strawberries (in the oven)

Happy preserving!