Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated for Canning
Have you ever stood in the middle of you kitchen in the height of winter wishing you could make and preserve some strawberry jam? Well, now you can! By simply dehydrating and storing strawberries in the peak season, you can keep them year round. There is nothing better than a taste of the summertime goodness of fresh strawberry jam.
Dried fruit packs intense flavor into homemade preserves. Starting with dried fruit will give you preserves with uncommonly deep flavors. Dried fruit has much of its water removed; leaving only concentrated essence of fruit. Steep that dried fruit in highly seasoned sugar syrup added to carry the flavors, and you’ll have preserves unlike any other you’ve made before.
When the strawberry season has arrived in its bounty, just dry some for some extra-special strawberry jam. Then, when we are well past peak canning season, with year-round access to dried fruits, you can still make a deliciously fruity homemade jam.
This is a safely tested canning recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, adapted with both freeze-dried and dehydrated strawberries that I have tested myself.
Before you Begin:
- Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning.
- If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.
- Sterilize canning jars.
Strawberry Jam without Added Pectin
Makes: About 9 half-pint jars
7-1/2 cups sliced dried strawberries or 13-1/2 cups sliced freeze-dried strawberries
7-1/2 cups warm water
6 cups sugar
- For freeze-dried strawberries: Add 7-1/2 cups warm water to a large bowl with 13-1/2 cups sliced, freeze-dried strawberries and stir thoroughly soaking all the strawberries. Allow to soak, covered, for 1 hour.
- For dehydrated strawberries: The day before you plan to make jam, add 7-1/2 cups warm water to a large bowl with 7-1/2 cups sliced, dried strawberries and stir thoroughly soaking all the strawberries. Allow to soak in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.
- Measure strawberries into a large pot. You should have a total of 9 cups of rehydrated strawberries and juice to work with.
- Using an immersion blender or a potato masher, crush the berries to about 1/4-inch chunks. Do NOT purée. If you prefer chunky strawberry jam, as we do, you may leave whole as is.
- Combine berries and sugar. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.
- Once sugar is dissolved, cook rapidly to, or almost to, the jellying point, depending upon whether a firm or soft jam is desired. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.
- Remove from heat and fill hot jam into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.
- Process in a Boiling Water Canner according to the times in the below chart.
NOTE: If seedless jam is preferred, crushed berries may be heated until soft and pressed through a sieve or food mill; then add sugar and proceed as above.
National Center for Home Food Preservation: Making Jams and Jellies, Berry Jams without added pectin.
Adapted from “So Easy to Preserve”, 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.
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