Strawberry Basil Jelly


Ingredients:  

  • 8 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cored
  • 11 cups + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 boxes SURE-JELL (fruit pectin)
  • herbs of your choice
    • chopped basil
    • fresh thyme, stripped (optional)

Written Method:

Prepare the strawberries.  All the strawberries need to be hulled, cored, and smashed.  We used a potato masher for this.  Smushing up the berries is a great job for a kid if you have one hanging around.  It also turns out that the recipe calls for an insane amount of sugar.  


The only pot I had that was large enough to accommodate this whole operation was a pressure cooker (without the lid on), so that's how they did it.  Add the berries and the SURE-JELL. Lastly, add a teaspoon of butter.  We'll call this "grandmother magic."  Now start your berries went to cooking.


For the next part of the process, the jars and lids need to be sterilized and prepared.  They need to be submersed and boiled for at least 10 minutes.  Allow the hot water to remain in them while the berries are cooking.


Bring the berries to boil on medium heat.  Boil the berries for at least a couple of minutes on a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat.  Add sugar to the fruit mixture in the pot.  Return to a full rolling boil.  Boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  DO NOT REDUCE THE SUGAR IN THE RECIPE SINCE THAT WILL RESULT IN A FAILURE TO SET. *This statement comes directly from the package.  Don't blame me for this crazy amount of sugar.


Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling each to within 1/4" of top.  Check the canning section of your grocery store for these wide mouth canning funnels.  They are the perfect size for fitting into the top of the jars.  Long handled tongs work great to add the sterilized lids to the jars to avoid contamination with your fingers.  Also, both the jars and the jelly are like hot molten lava right now!  If you have any drips on the jar rims and threads, you will want to make sure you wipe those clean. You will want a rag or some sort of protection while screwing the rings onto the lids.  These jars are super HOT right now!


Here we have one perfect little jar of strawberry jelly.  But was I happy with that?  Nooooo... I had to somehow start thinking of something different to do with it.  So I ran out into the herb garden and picked some fresh basil and some fresh thyme and decided that we were going to have some fun!  :)  Of course this is completely optional, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.  For this first one, I chopped the basil and for this small jar (about 1 cup of jelly), I added a large pinch (probably about 1 - 1 1/2 tsp) of chopped basil.  I gave it a little stir to distribute it throughout.  I did the same with some thyme leaves.  


Now place the jars of jelly back into the pot.  If you don't have a canning rack, you can place a towel in the bottom of the pot to keep them off of the bottom and to keep them from bumping around in there.  They need to be completely covered in the water by about 2 inches.  Bring the water to a gentle boil and allow to boil for around 10 minutes.  Carefully remove them from the boiling water and set them upright on a towel to cool completely.  


My mother used a two-tong method to accomplish this.  Now during this cooling process, you will start to see the lids pop down.  You may even hear them "pop."  After they cool, you can check the seals by pressing the center of the lids with your finger.  If they spring back up, then they are NOT sealed, and refrigeration is necessary.  If they are sunk in, and do not pop up, then they are sealed and you can store them unopened in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.  Refrigerate opened jams/jellies for up to 3 weeks.