|One of the two pictures of the first batch of strawberry preserves.|
|Three cups of strawberry pieces with two cups of sugar on top.|
This is what they looked like this morning.
|The same strawberry/sugar mixture several hours later.|
|The strawberry and sugar mixture coming to a boil over the firebox.|
|The strawberry preserves cooking gently now. The waterbath|
canner is heating up at the left rear.
5. If you are going to waterbath can them, this is the time when you would put your canner over the fire to heat and get your lids into the hot water to soften the sealant. This recipe also freezes well if that is your preference.
6. This is where things get tricky. There is no set amount of time that these preserves have to cook like in conventional jelly making with pectin. You can test for doneness in three ways: a) see if the juice sheets off the spoon like in the pictures in the Ball Blue Book, b) put a couple of drops of the juice onto a plate which has been in the freezer. If after coming into contact with the plate it is the consistency you desire when you scrape it off with your finger, it is done, or c) look to see whether the strawberries are "glassy" since that is another indication of doneness. The last method is the one our family prefers.
|These pictures were taken one right after the other, but I don't|
know which one shows the "glassy" look of the strawberries better.
7. Remove from the stove, and stir down the foam as much as you can.
8. Pour into jars, adjust lids and bands, and process. (Again, I used room-temperature jars and let them boil for over ten minutes.)
|You can see in this picture that I removed the front|
lid over the firebox and put the canner there. For
some reason, the hottest part of the fire was in the
front of the firebox at that time.
|The lever with the black knob in the middle left of the picture|
is the oven damper. When it is in the down position, that means
that some of the heat and smoke can escape up the chimney right
away without having to circulate around the oven.