It is one of the best growing times of the year – strawberries are ripening all over the Garden State. And the fragrance of strawberries always takes me back to my childhood.
As a child our family lived at that line called the poverty level. Anything purchased at the supermarket was an extravagance. How I longed to take home a jar of Welch’s Jelly. But that was not to be. Instead, my sisters, grandmother, mother, and I would pile into our “vintage” car and head off to a strawberry field to pick the berries
When we would all tumble out of the car, the first thing that would strike me was that heady aroma of sweetness, followed by a landscape filled with red jewels. We would each be given our box and off to fields we would go to pick.
Once the boxes were filled, it was back to the car. We were packed into the car like sardines with our very red lips and crimson hands and our precious cargo of those little red jewels.
As soon as we got home, the boiling and chopping would commence. Out would come the ball jars and the sealing wax. Hours and hours later, the jars would be lined up like a stunning chorus line dressed in red. Hot and tired, our dinner would be a thick slice of bread with peanut butter and the fruit of all our hard work piled on top. The rest was “put by” for the winter.
On a cold, snowy morning later in the year, the wax would be breached and out would come the warmth and fragrance of a summer day spread on our morning toast.
Now, I am so happy not to have bought that Welch’s Jelly because I have had the pleasure of sharing this ritual with my own children and still opening a jar of summer on a cold winter day.
Low Sugar Strawberry and Rosemary Preserves
- 2 pounds (about 4 cups) fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 packet of liquid certo pectin
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- Wash strawberries; drain.
- Remove Stems.
- Crush strawberries on layer at a time. (I use a potato masher for this.).
- Combine strawberries, liquid pectin, lemon juice, minced rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and butter in a large saucepot.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil.
- Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, and skim foam if necessary.
- Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
- Adjust 2-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.
SPECIAL NOTE: This makes approximately 8 1/2 pint jars of preserves. The preserves are delicious with toast but are also very tasty on a cheese board and can be used as a glaze for chicken or salmon.
I hope you give this a try. On a winter’s morning you will thank yourself.
Talk soon, ❤️💕 Bernadette