Vanilla Preserved Strawberries

I hesitated to post this, given that I've done something similar in the past with strawberry jam. I won't lie and say that these preserved strawberries are leaps and bounds different, but they're different enough that I think they're worth a try. Plus, they're less labor-intensive than jam.

The canning bug bit me last summer and I was practically writhing in anticipation of summer's fresh produce so I could get a move on already. There's nothing prettier than a stack of homemade jams and pickles in crystal-clear jars, and the ability to give away to friends what was just ripening in your backyard the day before brings a feeling of community, of old-timey nurturing.

Or, some might say, perhaps I just glorify food too much.

Obviously these preserved strawberries can be used in many ways that strawberry preserves can; they just come out of the jar in whole, plump pieces that break and smoosh under the slightest pressure from a knife.
And, as I learned today, they add a little something to a ham and blue cheese wrap - something summery and just sweet enough that other condiments simply cannot achieve.

Note - I used powdered pectin on a whim, but looking back I would have left it out. If you want to use it for a jammier texture, add about a tablespoon.

You will need:

2 pounds strawberries, hulled but left intact
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbs lemon juice
2 vanilla beans, split and cut in half

If you are canning the strawberries, prepare your canning materials. This recipe yielded two pints.
Place the strawberries and sugar in a heavy, large pot and turn heat to medium. As the strawberries simmer they will release their own juices - once this happens, pour in the lemon juice and add the vanilla bean.
Allow the strawberries to come to a boil, and the second they do, remove them from the heat. If you're not preserving for later, let them cool slightly, then store in a glass container and refrigerate.

If you are preserving, ladle the strawberries and juice into canning jars, being sure to include one half of a vanilla bean in each jar. Leave 1 inch headspace and process for 15 minutes in a water bath canner.

2 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to try canning. Your preserves sound delicious.

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  2. Thank you! Once you get the hang of it, it's a breeze. It's definitely worth a try, especially with so much wonderful produce right now!

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