A few weeks ago, I treated myself to a trip to West Side Market in Cleveland for a foodie birthday extravaganza. On our way out of the market, with our arms piled high with treats, a fruit vendor offered me a full palette of fresh strawberries for FIVE DOLLARS! With the high price of strawberries in our area during the winter, I couldn’t resist giving into this tempting deal, even though I initially had no clue what to do with all my berries when I got them home!
I knew I only had a few days to decide what I wanted to do with all of the strawberries before they started going bad, so I figured the best and easiest way to save the strawberries was to make them into jelly. I’ve been practicing my jelly making lately, and recently made some pepper jelly from peppers I grew in my own backyard. I figured strawberries would be a similar process, so I gave it a go.
After washing and chopping all of the strawberries, I added them to a large pot with the sugar and the pectin. I had to keep a close eye on the mix so it wouldn’t burn while I brought it up to a soft jelly temperature – about 215 F – 220 F. Pro tip: if you want to make a strawberry topping for ice cream, only bring the jelly to about 200 F for a drizzling consistency.
Once the jelly has reached the desired temperature, transfer the jelly to sanitized jelly jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. I don’t actually have any “real” canning equipment (yet), so I sealed my jars in a simple water bath. Because I don’t have a canner, I simply submerged my filled jelly jars in a large pot of water so the jars were covered with at least an inch of water. I then used special jar tongs to transfer the jelly jars to a warm bath before setting them on a towel on the counter to finish cooling.
My jelly had a thicker consistency than I had originally intended, but still spreads easily across bread. I also used my jelly in a simple strawberry dipping sauce for my churro bites (recipe coming soon!).
If you’re feeling especially daring, you can make a strawberry habanero jelly by adding as many habanero peppers as your heart desires. I ended up saving some jelly before putting it all into jars and added two habaneo peppers to the still hot jelly and let it simmer for an extra few minutes to cook the peppers. I then repeated the same steps I did for the rest of the jelly – it came out exceptionally sweet AND exceptionally spicy!
What is your favorite kind of jelly or jam to make at home? Let me know in the comments below!
Homemade Strawberry Jelly
- Sterilize the jars, lids, and rings in a bath of boiling water for at least twenty minutes. Sterilize tongs in the boiling water and transfer the jars to a dry surface. (OPTIONAL: Transfer the empty jars to cake tin filled with warm water.)
- Wash and chop all the strawberries. Add the strawberries to a large pot over medium high heat along with the apple cider vinegar and sugar. Stir well to combine, then stir in the pectin.
- Bring the jelly to a rolling boil, about 215 F. Carefully spoon the jelly into the jars, filling them to about 1/4 inch from the top. Place the lid on top and tightly screw on the ring.
- Place the jars in a large pot filled with enough water to cover the jars with 1-2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and leave the jars for about forty five minutes or until the tops of the jars are tight and do not 'pop' when pushed on.
- Carefully remove the jars from the water bath and transfer to a towel on a flat surface. Let the jars cool completely and set for about 24-48 hours.
- Share with friends, family and co-workers and enjoy!