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Old Time Strawberry Preserves

Posted by Denise on August 6, 2014

old time strawberry preserves final

Many generations can't be wrong. Old TIme Strawberry Preserves are easy to make and taste wonderful all year.

Thick and full of sweet, plump strawberries, this strawberry preserves recipe is simple but exquisitely delicious. With only two ingredients, strawberries and granulated sugar, strawberries take center stage. And its so easy to make that I made multiple batches over a period of three days, cooking it one evening and filling and sealing jars the following morning before leaving for work. I was having so much fun that we gave jars of the beautiful preserves away to friends and we have people clamoring for the recipe.

I got the recipe in a funny way. While working around the house with the television on in the background, my attention snapped to the screen when I heard people discussing an old family strawberry preserves recipe. The show was “A Chef’s Life”, which I’d never seen before. The chef was making preserves with her favorite strawberry grower’s elderly mother from a much-loved family recipe handed down for generations. I’ve made strawberry jam many times, but I was intrigued with a couple of the instructions and I was itching to try them out. From that quick segment I was able to cobble together their recipe for the most delightful strawberry preserves.

One of the things I was intrigued by in this recipe was the instructions to let the cooked preserves set out for several hours or overnight before pouring the preserves into jars. Most jams are canned right away. The woman on the show said it allowed the berries to re-absorb some of the liquid. What? Ok, I had to try it.

I cooked up a batch, following their instructions to put the sugar on top of the strawberry chunks to keep the sugar from burning as I started to cook the preserves. All told, the entire process from cleaning and quartering the berries to completing the cooking, took about 40 minutes the first time, less the following batches since I knew the process. After cooking, I poured the preserves into a bowl and checked on the mixture every hour or so. To begin with the berries were limp shells of their former selves. But as the hours passed, when I checked on the mixture the strawberry pieces became plumper and plumper. It really worked! The flavor was great from the start, but the texture got better and better as the strawberries plumped.

Jars of the beautiful strawberry preserves make fabulous gifts. Make some to welcome new neighbors, thank friends or say “Happy birthday” to the person who has everything. And of course, enjoy some yourself!



Old Time Strawberry Preserves



old time strawberry preserves ingredients

Old Time Strawberry Preserves ingredients.



Makes 2 pints of preserves




cups sliced strawberries, cleaned and hulled first


cups granulated sugar


Paraffin wax for sealing jars



1. Place the sliced strawberries (make sure the pieces are of a size that will be easy to spread when the preserves are done) in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with enough room so that boiling the mixture won’t overflow the pan. Pour the sugar on top, keeping the strawberries below the sugar so the sugar doesn’t burn. Start off with less sugar and taste test it as the berries cook to see if you need to add more. The amount of sugar will depend on how sweet your strawberries are to begin with.


strawberry preserves rinsing strawberries old time strawberry preserves strawberries cut up

old time strawberry preserves adding sugar


2. Heat the strawberries/sugar over medium heat until the strawberries put out juice to keep the sugar from burning. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil, stirring frequently until thickened, approximately 12-15 minutes.


old time strawberry preserves sugar on berries cooking old time strawberry preserves

boiling old time strawberry preserves



3. Once thickened, remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a heat-proof bowl or shallow tray. Allow it to cool to room temperature, then cover it and let it sit for at least 8 hours or overnight. This allows the strawberries to re-absorb some of the juices and plump back up.


cooking old time strawberry preserves 2

old time strawberry preserves in bowl


4. After the resting/re-plumping period, ladle the strawberry mixture into clean, sterilized pint jars, filling the jar, leaving about ¾” from the top of the jar. Wipe away any spills or smears on the outside and the inside of the jar. You will want the paraffin to be able to adhere to the inside of the jar to keep air out.


5. Melt the wax over low heat in a small clean pan. Once melted, pour at least ½” thick layer over the top of the preserves in each jar. Do not move the jar until the wax has set up. Also, do not shake or turn the jars upside down. You don’t want to risk breaking the seal on the wax from the sides of the jars.


paraffin wax in package melting paraffin wax

melting paraffin wax melting 2


6. Once the wax is set, put the lids on the jars. Label the jars and store in a cool dark place for up to a year. Once you decide to use a jar of preserves, use a knife to cut the paraffin wax into two to three pieces and remove the wax from the jar. Refrigerate the preserves after opening.


paraffin wax on top of jar 1

 hardened paraffin wax on jar top

  old time strawberry preserves final 2


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