Strawberry Canning With Local Produce

Happy Summer Canning Season!

Quick recap, my name is Cassie, and I live in Michigan. What many people take for granted is that Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the United States.

Another fun fact, I live on a dairy and cash crop operation. I do whatever I can to support other farmers and ranchers. That means using things I can grow at home or from markets nearby for canning and cooking!

canning strawberries

Buying from a grocery store doesn’t mean it’s not local; in most cases, most of their produce and dairy comes from within the state. For example, most products have a code. If you are buying milk, look for code 26 (for Michigan) or if you are buying sugar, as long as it is beet sugar, the chances are very high that it was grown in mid-Michigan!

Back to what is important – canning! Nothing beets (sugarbeet joke), some fresh from the garden fruits and vegetables for canning season! I am by no means an expert. I picked this hobby up from my mother-in-law a few years ago and loved it! It is easy, and anyone can do it! My canning is done with a water bath canner – I haven’t been brave enough to try pressure canning – so it will all be relatively inexpensive to start up. The Facebook marketplace is always a good place to look, or, ya know, it is garage sale season. I always get some cheap jars from estate sales! 

Here are my favorite Strawberry {and Rhubard} canning recipes:
*All of the jams and jellies can be frozen instead of canned, too.

Strawberry/Strawberry Ginger Ale Jam (10 half pints)
12(ish) cups strawberries (3 quarts) (should be about 6 2/3 cups smashed)
7 tablespoons low sugar ball pectin or one packet of Sure-Jell (1.75oz)
1/2 teaspoon butter
2.5 cups sugar (Change to match for Sure-Jell)
1/2 cup Ginger Ale
Splash of lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Put 1 cup of strawberries in a bowl. Using a potato masher, crush the strawberries. I do this in small batches so I do not smash too many. Continue adding and crushing strawberries until the desired amount is reached. Add to pot.
  2. Stir in pectin and butter – this is where I add a splash of lemon juice. It gives the jelly more body and helps it set better.
  3. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Add sugar all at once and return to boiling, stirring constantly.
  5. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and skim off the foam with a metal spoon.
  7. Add the Ginger Ale and gently stir it in.
  8. Ladle jam into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars (this size is often called jelly jars). Leave 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel. Put on the lids and bands.
  9. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (start timing when water begins to boil).
  10. Remove the jars from the water bath canner and allow them to cool. You will begin to hear your jars’ lovely ‘pop’ sealing!!

Side notes:
*I always mix the pectin with half cup of sugar to help mix better in the pot. I subtract this from the total amount. [example: 2.5 cups needed for jam, half with pectin, two mixed in at step 4]
*if you want to make plain strawberry jam, leave out the ginger. Also, I follow the Sure-Jel recipe for something super easy!

strawberry canning

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
10(ish) cups strawberries (should be about 4 2/3 cups smashed)
1.5 cups thinly sliced Rhubarb
7 tablespoons low sugar ball pectin or one packet of sure jel(1.75oz)
1/2 teaspoon butter
2.5 cups sugar (Change to match for sure jel)
Splash of lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Prepare fruit. Put 1 cup of strawberries in a bowl. Using a potato masher, crush the strawberries. I do this in small batches so I do not smash too many. Continue adding and crushing strawberries until the desired amount is reached.
  2. Slice Rhubarb into half-inch slices. Once the fruit is prepared, put it in the pot
  3. Stir in pectin and butter – this is where I add a splash of lemon juice. It gives the jelly more body and helps it set better.
  4. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  5. Add sugar all at once and return to boiling, stirring constantly.
  6. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove from heat and skim off the foam with a metal spoon.
  8. Ladle jam into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars (this size is often called jelly jars). Leave 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel. Put on the lids and bands.
  9. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (start timing when water begins to boil).
  10. Remove the jars from the water bath canner and allow them to cool. You will begin to hear your jars’ lovely ‘pop’ sealing!!

Side notes:
*I always mix the pectin with half a cup of sugar to help mix better in the pot. I subtract this from the total amount. [example: 2.5 cups needed for jam, half with pectin, two mixed in at step 4]
*if you want to make plain strawberry jam, leave out the Rhubarb and increase the amount of strawberries to 6 2/3 cups. Also, I follow the Sure-Jel recipe for something super easy!

Strawberry Topping/Sauce
Ice cream or angel food cake topping

8 cups of roughly cut strawberries ( halves or quartered)
1 Tsp of Lemon Juice
1 cup of sugar depending on how sweet your strawberries are (I always start with one and let sit, then add more if needed)

Directions:

  1. Combine strawberries and sugar in a bowl and chill for at least an hour. (This helps speed the process up – if you do not have time, you can simmer for much longer)
  2. Add strawberries and liquid to a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until you get the desired consistency, stirring consistently. This will take 15-35 minutes. Skim off any foam.
  3. Fill clean and hot sterilized jars ( I use 4 or 8oz). Wipe clean and place lid and ring on. Add to water bath and process for 5-10 minutes, depending on jar size.
  4. Remove jars and allow them to rest. Unsealed jars will need to be refrigerated and used within two weeks.

Strawberry Pie Filling
7 Quart Recipe
6 quarts of strawberries
2 1/4 cups Clear Jel
7 cups cold water
1/2 cup lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Wash Strawberries, hull, and slice – set aside.
  2. Place sugar and clear jel in a pot and stir well. Add water.
  3. Cook on medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens, stirring consistently.
  4. Add lemon juice and boil for another minute.
  5. Fold in strawberries and stir. Heat through.
  6. Fill clean and hot sterilized jars. Wipe clean and place lid and ring on. Add to water bath process for 30 minutes.

*This recipe calls for 1 1/2 inches of head space in the jars. I swear they spill out every time, so I always leave two inches.

Grandma Jam (just trust me!)
7 cups of Rhubarb
5 cups sugar
1 6oz package of raspberry jello
1 can of blueberry pie filling

Directions:

  1. combine rhubarb and sugar – allow to sit, covered in the refrigerator overnight
  2. bring to a boil and cook until rhubarb is soft
  3. add jello and remove from heat
  4. blend in pie-filling
  5. Ladle jam into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars (this size is often called jelly jars). Leave 1/4 inch headspace.
  6. Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel. Put on the lids and bands.
  7. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (start timing when water begins to boil).
  8. Remove the jars from the water bath canner and allow them to cool. You will begin to hear your jars’ lovely ‘pop’ sealing!!

Share your FAVORITE summer canning recipes with me!

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Cassie lives in the Thumb. She is married and has two boys. Cassie and her family also share their home with their two dogs. Cassie is extremely involved in Agriculture, not only is she a full-time field consultant (working with Sugarbeets) in the thumb, but her husband and his family also own and operate a dairy farm and cash crop operation. Most of her free time is spent at the farm with their kiddos, trying new recipes or just cooking in general, reading, and watching the bachelor with her girlfriends. Follow along with Cassie as she writes on her experience of becoming a mother, farm life, and plenty of other random things.

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