I made the strawberry pie filling last year, and it was a certified hit. To be quite honest though, I’m not sure if any of the jars’ contents actually made their way into pie. Maaaaaybe once? Much more often, it was scooped into a bowl for dessert – or out of my range of vision, directly from jar into mouth. So this year, I decided to preserve them in smaller portions so that if the teenagers (looking at you, Aaron) in my house were on the quest for a sweet treat, they could enjoy the whole thing without falling into a sugar coma. I was also so pleased with the jam flavour I made yesterday, I used similar flavours here too.
- 11 cups halved or chopped strawberries
- 2 1/2 cups sugar (you can up or lower the amount of sugar to your taste)
- 1 cup, 2 T ClearJel (do not substitute!)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 5 T lemon juice
- 3 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T vanilla extract
- A pile of 1/4 pint (125 ml) or 1/2 pint (250 ml) Mason jars: I used 11 of the wee ones and 8 1/2 pints
- Equivalent number of snap lids and rings
Directions for canning:
- Wash your jars in hot soapy water and rinse well.
- Make sure your jars, water bath, and everything else are ready because it comes together quickly.
- Combine sugar, ClearJel, water, vinegar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a large pot. Whisk it all together thoroughly until well combined. Heat on medium until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. The balsamic vinegar gives it a bit of a caramelly colour, but the strawberries brought it back to red. (I was worried for a minute.)
- Heat water to the almost boil in a small pot and place your snap lids in there to soften.
- Fold strawberries, a few cups at a time, into the hot mixture.
- Scoop hot strawberry dessert filling into jars leaving a good 1.5 cm room. Jam needs headspace. Anything with Clear Jel seems to need a little shoulder room too. (Badum tss!)
- Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble each jar with a skewer or chopstick to release any trapped air. Wipe each rim thoroughly with a clean paper towel, dampened with white vinegar. Place a heated snap lid down and screw the ring on finger tip tight.
- Put the filled jars into your water bath canner. Make sure there is at least an inch of water above the top of your jars. Don't start your timer until the water is boiling. Boil for 30 minutes. I had enough filling for two batches – 13 jars in the first canner load and 5 in the second. You know you can't do two layers in a water bath canner, right? Just checking.
Use it as dessert on its own, as a topping for ice cream or angelfood cake, as a pie filling, or in a tart. You can eat it on a bus, you can eat it with a friend, you can.... (oh no, the Seuss is loose)