One of my favorite things to do is make preserves. Its fun and in the end you get something delicious to eat and give away. These preserves are a gift for friends.
Step 1: Equipment
To make safe, shelf stable preserves you need canning jars and lids and you need to process them in a hot water bath. If you don't want to can the preserves, you can just cook the fruit and then keep the preserves in the freezer or refrigerator.
A large pot with a rack and a jar lifter, lid lifter and wide mouth funnel will make things easy.
The jars should be official canning jars as other jars can crack in the hot water. Jars and lids are available at most grocery stores.
Pot for cooking preserves
Pot for hot water bath/canning
2 piece lids (lid and ring)
Step 2: Ingredients
1 lb fresh figs, stemmed and cut into small pieces
2 cups quartered strawberries
2 cups sugar
3 Tb. lemon juice
Step 3: Getting the Jars and Lids Ready
Wash the jars with soapy water and place them in a large pot with water. A rack is useful on the bottom to avoid the jars rattling, but if you don't have one, you can put a towel on the bottom too.
Bring the pot of water to a boil and once boiling, let the jars boil for 15 min to sterilize them. Leave jars in the pot till ready to use.
Wash the lids and rings with soapy water and then set aside till ready to use. Some of the older lids require soaking in warm water to soften the sealing surface (see the instructions on the box for details).
Step 4: Cooking the Preserves
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and let sit for 1 hour, stirring every now and then. After an hour the fruit will have a lot of liquid around it.
Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to medium. Stir frequently to avoid sticking and burning. After about 15 min, the mixture will thicken.
Step 5: Canning the Preserves
Using the jar lifter, take out a jar from the hot water bath and tilt it to remove all the water. Place on counter (I usually use a towel to protect the counter). Using funnel, fill jar almost to top, leaving about 1/4" space. Clean top edge of jar with a moist paper towel and then place lid and ring on jar. Tighten ring (use towel to hold hot jar) gently and then using jar lifter place jar back in hot water.
Fill all jars. This recipe made 3 full 8 oz jars and had about 4 oz left over which we just put in the fridge for immediate use.
Heat up pot with jars, cover pot, and when it comes to a boil lower heat so the water still boils and wait for 10 minutes.
Remove jars with jar lifter and place on a towel or cutting board.
After a 5-10 minutes, the lid will seal against the jar. Sometimes you can hear this as a "ping" or you can see the lid pull into the jar a bit. If the jar hasn't sealed after an hour, you can try processing it again to see if it seals, or keep the jar in the fridge or freezer.
Step 6: Enjoy Your Preserves
The preserves have a shelf life of at least a year. I suggest labeling the jars if you do a lot of canning to avoid confusion...
I recommend using the Ball Blue Book for instructions on safe canning. https://www.freshpreserving.com/ball-blue-book--guide-to-preserving-%2837th-edition%29-1034026.html
Runner Up in the
Canning and Pickling Challenge 2017