When the strawberry season is at its peak, easy homemade strawberry preserves are a must-make for my family!
One of my favorite things to do in the summer is taking a road trip to the local farm and pick fresh berries with my kids. This year we drove about an hour away to Westmoreland Berry Farm in Colonial Beach, VA.
Westmoreland Berry Farm not only has berries but it has goats and is actually quite famous for them! I’m not going to lie here and tell you that my favorite part of the farm was the berries… cause let’s be real… the goats are so flipping cute! #becausegoats
Farm to Fork
This trip to the farm had me inspired to make homemade strawberry preserves and I knew I had to include the recipe as part of my Farm to Fork series on the blog!
In the first post of the series, I shared how easy it is to make farm fresh bread. I had the pleasure of using the farmhouse at Good for You Farm to make that bread and these strawberry preserves!
Homemade Strawberry Preserves
Starting with fresh, never frozen, strawberries are the only way you should ever make homemade strawberry preserves.
For hundreds of years, fresh fruits have been preserved this way to keep the berries usable for the long-term. Thus getting the name Strawberry Preserves.
This preparation of the berries, since they are left whole and the flesh is included in the preserves, can also be considered a jam. Jelly is different because it’s made with only the juice of the berry and not the flesh like in jam.
Some recipes call for the use of added pectin, however, mine does not. Sugar, lemon juice and zest are all that is added to the berries.
The berries and sugar together would make natural pectin that can be seen while cooking. The white foam on top is the key indicator that the pectin is being made and the jam will be thick and perfect!
I’m not a master of canning jams, so I don’t follow all the typical rules for canning. I don’t boil my jars or do anything fancy with them.
Instead, I simply run the jars through the dishwasher and let them air dry before pouring the hot preserves into each jar.
I’ve never had any issue with the jars breaking or the preserves going bad because I didn’t boil the jars first.
After the mess has been cleaned and the preserves have cooled, I’m left with a thick, perfectly sweet and a bit tart strawberry jam!
My favorite way to eat strawberry preserves is on warm farm fresh homemade bread!
There are seriously fewer things in life that make me as happy as I am when I’m eating bread smeared with homemade jam.
It’s the little things like this that truly bring me joy and I always stop to take a moment to enjoy each delicious bite.
Seriously, so good.
As an added treat, I’ve had my amazing photographer Fanette Rickert Photography create a video to accompany this recipe! These are also all her photos… aren’t they amazing?
- 9 cups cleaned, halved fresh strawberries
- 6 cups granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- heavy bottomed pan or crock
- potato masher
- 3 jam jars with lids
- Clean and half the berries and place them in the pot.
- Sprinkle over the sugar, zest and juice. Stir to combine.
- Using a potato masher, gently break up the strawberries. Keep at least half of the berries in tact.
- On high heat, cook the mixture for 5 minutes while stirring frequently to help break up berries and bring out the juices.
- Continue cooking until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Bring the temperature down to a medium/low simmer. Continue to stir occasionally.
- When a pink foam appears on the top of the mixer, sure a spoon to scoop it off. This step isn't necessary, however sometimes if you skip it, chunks of pectin will be in the preserves.
- After about 90 minutes or until it has reduced and thickened, pour the preserves into clean, dry jam jars. Allow the jam to cool completely before putting the lid on.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.