It is berry season here now. We love our Strawberries and for $1 a quart they are a total deal. Usually Strawberries are $3.99 a quart, but if you buy in season the sale is equal to 75% off!
I have a candle and sewn goods company and usually I focus on that for my blog, but I can’t resist in this economy sharing some cost saving tips that I’ve learned over my journeys.
Spring is the perfect time to stock up on Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries, and Raspberries), Cucumbers and Beets. These produce items are on sale in May/June.
Look at the local grocery flier for big sales on these items.
So, I had to get about 9 quarts of strawberries. I paid $9 for them when at any other time I would have paid $37!
I have no intention of eating 9 quarts of strawberries this week- I will preserve them to eat later.
We choose to freeze 6 quarts for later in the year, eat 1 quart and dry 2 quarts.
There are a few options for preserving Strawberries.
Can in Jars
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Freeze the harvest
I only suggest freezing strawberries with a food saver machine. This machine removes the air from specialty bags. Otherwise, the strawberries will have freezer burn.
We use this one and it has been an amazing investment for saving money on food.
I trimmed the tops off strawberries, soaked in vinegar water, rinsed and packed into bags.
The machine sucks the air from bag and heat seals it.
Those strawberries will be just as fresh as the day I froze them for a year or more.
You will also need bags for the food saver. This huge awesome bag set is available on sale on Amazon Prime 2022 now.
Can in Jars (Hot Water Canner)
We did not can any strawberries this time. I played with the idea of making jam or canning whole strawberries in syrup, but since I had plenty of freezer space, I froze them instead.
Here is the recipe to can whole strawberries in a hot water bath canner.
Clean and Hull the strawberries (remove green caps & stems.)
Leave strawberries whole; do not slice or chop.
Put cleaned fruit in a large pot.
Add Sugar: for each 1 quart of whole berries by volume add3/4 cup white sugar. Stir fruit to distribute sugar evenly. Cover pot; let sit in a cool place for 5 to 6 hours.
Add 1/2 cup of water for every quart of berries. Heat pot slowly on a medium-hot burner. Stir frequently. Heat until berries are warm all the way through and, all sugar is dissolved.
Pack strawberries and liquid into heated jars.
Leave 1 inch headspace - strawberries are air filled.
De-bubble, adjust headspace.
Top up with clean boiling water, if you still need more liquid.
Wipe jar rims.
Put lids on.
Process in a water bath or steam canner.
Process quart jars for 15 minutes.
Increase time as needed for your altitude.
I advise only getting canning recipes directly from the Ball jar company. This and other recipes can be found on their website at www.Freshperserving.com.
We started our homestead with a simple, inexpensive hot water bath canning pot like this one.
There is also a canning tool kit that is a must to own.
Canning tool kit contains wide mouth funnel, magnetic lid and band grabber, fill measuring tool, burper and jar grabber.
And of course, don’t forget the mason jars.
Ball mason jars are made with small or wide mouths. The mouth is the opening of jar. I prefer wide mouth jars so I can reach into jar to scrub them. I suggest choosing a size and sticking with it.
The jars and metal bands are reusable, but the flat cap must be discarded after use. It is easier to choose a size and purchase that size instead of having 2 different sized jars, flat caps and bands to store for use.
I always confirm each recipe and storage with the Ball jar company either on their website or using their recipe book. They say most canned foods can be stored in a cool, dark place for a year or more.
I am obsessed with canning jars and have a small collection of unique ones. They make so many colors and styles and they have tons of accessories like straw lids, fermenting lids, sprouting lids. If you love canning jars as much as I do, please take a look at my Canning Jar 411 article here.
Dried fruit can be stored for 1 year. We like to eat the dried food by adding nuts and making trail mix. Dried food can also be reconstituted by adding water back to food before use.
You can dry many foods in oven. Strawberries need only be cut to 3/4” slices, placed in single layer on cookie sheet and placed in oven at 200 degrees for 3 hrs.
I don’t like to waste energy heating whole oven. Not only does oven use gas/electric, the home A/C also works harder to cool home while oven is running.
I use a dehydrator like this one.
This dehydrator will come with a recipe book for fruits, jerky and vegetables. The recipe for dried strawberries is same as oven. Clean strawberries by soaking in a bowl filled with 1 cup of vinegar and 3 cups water for 10 minutes. Rinse strawberries after their soak.
Cut into 3/4” slices, layer in dehydrator trays and turn dehydrator on. Strawberries will be ready in about 6 hrs.
In order to check strawberries are done just snap one in half. It should break and have no beads of juice in the crack.
Store dry food in labeled mason jar for later use.
The current prices on commodities like food, gas and child care are outright criminal.
I have always enjoyed a simpler, cheaper way of life. You can subscribe to my website to get updates on new blog posts designed to improve life and help the wallet.