Canning Strawberries

Strawberries are an excellent fruit to can. Canned strawberries work great in almost any dish that calls for fruit. They are delicious in pies, jams, yoghurt, smoothies, or even eaten by themselves! Canning strawberries will save you money since it is cheaper than buying canned strawberries at the grocery store. Canning your own is also healthier since you can avoid added sugars and preservatives!

Strawberries can be banned whole or cut into smaller pieces. In either case, choosing the best strawberries for canning is essential. Choose fresh, firm berries with bright red colour and a sweet smell. Remember, strawberries will get redder as you store them, but not sweeter. If possible, try to buy your strawberries from the local farmer’s market as they are bound to be fresher than supermarket strawberries.

The steps for canning are pretty simple. The first step is preparing all the fruit by washing and hulling it. Next, whether you are canning the strawberry in syrup or not, prepare the fruit in a canning liquid and fill your canning jars. Lastly, process your cans in a water bath, and voila! Canned Strawberries are ready!

Water Bath Canning vs. Pressure Canning

Canning Strawberries

The first thing to understand when it comes to canning is the different canning techniques. In the canning world, the two main techniques are Water Bath Canning and Pressure Canning. Water bath canning does not require you to have any special equipment. You could even use a large stockpot and a rack to place at the bottom of it. On the other hand, Pressure Canning requires a piece of specialized equipment for canning which has a gauge for monitoring the pressure inside, a vent and clamps to shut the pressure canner.

A simple rule of thumb when deciding which canning method to use is, “All low acid food have to be canned in a  pressure canner and never in a water bath.” But why, you ask? A water bath canner simply cannot reach the temperature that a pressure canner can reach. In a water bath canner, the acidity of the food is what helps preserve it along with the temperature attained during the canning process. So, when canning low acid food, the food must get processed at a temperature that eliminates all the bacteria.

Now that you know which method to use, let’s talk about canning strawberries! Strawberries are naturally acidic and, therefore, can be canned safely using a water bath method.

Prerequisites for Strawberry Canning

Strawberries

Before you start canning your strawberries, you need to get all the equipment ready, including sterilizing your canning jars and prepping your canning lids. In this canning recipe, we are canning about 16 cups (~12 pounds) of strawberries which should give us 4 quarts or 8 pints of canned strawberries.

Ingredients

Sterilizing the Canning Jars

Canning Strawberries Process

Sterilizing your canning jars and lids is a vital step when canning any kind of food and will help eliminate all bacteria from the canning jars and increase the shelf life of your product.

  1. Add 2 cups of water to the pot you will be using as your water bath canner and place it on the stovetop so that the water comes to a boil.
  2. Rinse all the canning jars and rings using soap and water. Place a trivet in the water bath canner so that the rinsed jars and rings don’t touch the bottom of the canner.
  3. Close the lid to your canner and let the water boil continuously for 10 – 15 minutes. Once the time is up, turn off the heat and let the jars remain in the canner until you are ready to fill them.
  4. For sterilizing your canning lids, let them soak in hot water until you are ready to use them.

Preparing the Strawberries for Canning

You can either choose to can the strawberries whole or to can them by cutting them into small pieces. But before that, you need to prep them.

  1. Wash the strawberries with cold water to get rid of any dirt.
  2. Next, pat them dry using paper towels before you move on to hulling them.
  3. Hulling strawberries means we are getting rid of their leaves and stem. There are various ways to hull a strawberry, but the easiest is to trim the top off using a chef’s knife.
  4. If you are planning on canning strawberry chunks, go ahead and cut the strawberries into halves or quarters as per your preference.

The Canning Process

  1. In a large pot, add in your strawberries and sugar as well if you are using it.
  2. If you have added sugar, mix everything using a silicone spatula to make sure all your strawberries are coated with the sugar. Cover your pot and let the strawberries marinate in sugar for 3 – 6 hours in a cool place.
  3. At the end of 6 hours, you will notice that the strawberries have released some water, and the sugar has dissolved completely. Transfer them to a heavy-duty pot and heat the strawberries on the stovetop. Remember, you don’t want to cook the berries because you will end up with a strawberry jam that way.
  4. Simply warm the berries all the way through and take them off the heat. As your strawberries are warming up, put a kettle of water on the stove. This water will act as canning liquid if we don’t get enough syrup to fill our jars from the strawberries.
  5. Once the strawberries are all ready, remove your canning jars from the water bath canner and empty any water they have collected.
  6. First, scoop equal amounts of strawberries into each canning jar using a ladle and jar funnel. The strawberries will shrink down during the canning process, so make sure you pack the strawberries in.
  7. When the strawberries are all in, distribute the remaining syrup in all your canning jars as well, leaving ½ inch headspace. If you notice that you are a little short on the syrup, add the hot water from the kettle to fill the jars.
  8. Use your debubbler to move around the strawberries, and this will release any air pocket that may have formed and help in packing the strawberries tight.
  9. Wipe the rims with a paper towel so that they are clean and dry. Using the lid lifter, place the lids onto the canning jars and then screw on the rings so that they are just “finger-tip tight.”
  10. Place your ready jars in the water bath and add enough water to cover the jars at least 1 inch. Put the lid on your canner and let the water come to a roaring boil before you start your timer.
  11. Strawberries need to be processed for 10 minutes in the water bath canner. Remember to adjust the time according to your elevation:
    • 1,001- 3,000 ft. – add 5 minutes
    • 3,001- 6,000 ft. – add 10 minutes
    • 6,001- 8,000 ft. – add 15 minutes
    • 8,001-10,000 ft. – add 20 minutes
  12. When the strawberries are done processing, turn off the stove and open the lid of your canner. Let the water settle down a little before removing the canning jars using tongs.
  13. Let the jars cool down undisturbed on a wire rack for 24 hours. You will be able to hear the “pop” of the jars sealing shut as they cool.
  14. The final step in canning strawberries is to remove their rings, clean them with a cloth, check their seals and lastly, label them with the canning date before storing them in your pantry.

Tips for Successful Canning

  • Always keep an eye on the water level when you are canning. If the water level reduces too much, you risk ruining the entire batch. Top off the water if necessary.
  • Be precise with the processing time for optimal results.
  • Always check your jars before you use them for canning. If there are any chips, cracks, or blemishes, it might prevent proper sealing of the jars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canning Ingredients

How long do canned strawberries last?

Your canned strawberries should last in the pantry for 18 -24 months without any problem. Just take care that you are storing them in a cool, well-ventilated area and away from direct sunlight. Once you open any jar,  store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Can I can the strawberries without sugar?

Yes, strawberries can be canned without sugar. It is recommended that you skip the sugar if you plan to use the strawberries in any baking recipes. However, you might find them to be a little tart if you use them straight out of the can or use them without processing them in any way.

Conclusion

Strawberry

Canning your own fruit ensures that it has been handled properly and is free from any additional preservatives found in commercially prepared fruits. It can also be a fun family project that can provide you with delicious meals and snacks all year long. You can also check out some of our other canning recipes here.

Charlotte King

Over the last 8 years, I have been perfecting my skills in preserving food! From canning, to drying, to freezing, and brining, I've done it all. Using this information, I create informative posts on CannedNation to help you on your food preservation journey!

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