What I usually do with homegrown fruit is turn it into jams and/or chutneys. I found a great and simple recipe for strawberry preserves that can be processed two ways: roasting in the oven or boiling on the stove top. The recipe hails from a great cookbook called The Farm to Table Cookbook: The Art of Eating Locally, by Ivy Manning. I have many garden-based cook books to help when I can not think of one more way to serve up summer squash. However, this book is something that I turn to all year long.
Oven-Dried Strawberry Preserves makes 1 1/4 cups (She uses this jam to go in Aborio Rice Pudding with Oven Dried Strawberry Preserves and Sugared Almonds. I have not tried that recipe yet because I eat the strawberry preserves with a spoon out of the jar.)
This is a nice recipe because the strawberries are not exposed to several hours of boiling as with other jam preparations. Because of that, they emerge from the oven with a bit more integrity.
1 pint (2.5 cups) strawberries, cleaned, hulled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup sugar (Book recipe called for 1 cup)
1 tsp. lemon juice.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and allow to macerate for 10 minutes. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently, and then remove the pan from the stove.
Transfer the mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring every 20 minutes, for two hours when it will become thick and jammy. (I only stirred it twice while it was in the oven and it turned out fine.) Store this in an airtight jar and refrigerate. It will last for several weeks, at least, in the fridge or may be frozen for several months. I like that.
Traditional Strawberry Jam (pictured above)
Take the exact same ingredients, only doubling the lemon juice and put into a pot. If you want a lot of the jam so you can give it away as gifts, quadruple the recipe.
The only tricky part of making traditional jam that you preserve in jars is that it takes a while for the water in the fruit to boil away. Then, all of a sudden, it is a runny, jam-like consistency and done. If you let it go on longer than "done-time", by even a few minutes, it will burn.
Process in whatever size sterilized jars you like. If you have never canned anything before, it is really fun, satisfying and easy! Here is a link to how to do it: