Wednesday, April 13, 2011

how to can pontchatoula strawberries*

so i had to do something with my abundance of strawberries. chocolate-covered? been there, done that. on top of pancakes? already used a container for that over the weekend. i don't have a waffle iron, so strawberry belgian waffles were out. other than freezing some, eating some with cereal, and having some in a bowl sprinkled with sugar, i still had about 10 lbs of strawberries to tackle. so, like any self-respecting polish person, i called my grandma and figured out how to can those babies. it was surprisingly easy and will be gratifying if i can wait long enough to eat them. wanna know how i did it?

not everyone raise your hands at once, please.

i learned how to sterilize jars here. unfortunately, there is no such convenient link to my 20-minute conversation with my grandma, so here goes:
  1. you need fresh strawberries and sugar** (seriously, that's it)
  2. wash the strawberries thoroughly. important: do not cut off their stems until after they've been washed! otherwise, they will soak up way too much water
  3. cut off the stems and dab the berries with a paper towel. place all the berries in a bowl and add enough sugar so that each strawberry has nice little comfy sugar coat. cover the bowl and put it in the fridge overnight
  4. the next day (i waited approximately 24 hours), place the strawberries along with their juices in a pot and cook over low heat, while you sterilize the jars. let the berries cook down a little (see the "before" and "after" photos below!)
  5. while the jars and strawberries are still hot, fill each jar to the top and cover right away. flip the jars over (this is really to see if you've closed them properly), cover with a dishrag or towel and let them cool. DONE!
note: if, down the line, you notice the berries have become puffy or the cover of the jar has puffed up, do not eat them! they've gone bad. have a berry funeral and move on.
*please note: strawberries other than festival strawberries will work just fine, i guess
**try your darnedest to ignore that little voice in your head saying, "use splenda! it'll taste the same!" it won't. trust me. and you shut your mouth, little voice.

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