Summer Strawberry Jelly

Strawberry Fields Forever!! John Lennon’s reference in the Beatles song is based on nostalgic childhood memories of him playing in the garden of Strawberry Fields, at the Salvation Army Children’s Home in Liverpool near where he grew up. The Beatles spent 45 hours in the studio over 5 weeks, tracking the song and ended up with three different renditions, finally combining two of them. Is this why the lyric mentions  “forever”?

It also may have to do with the fact that strawberry fields actually last forever. You plant one container and over the years it will spread, grow and thrive until you have a field of strawberries… forever. And this happens with practically no maintenance.

June is Strawberry month; July is time for canning. My friend Meredith Urban (@delamer1981) recently visited her grandmother Rita who is a professional(ish) canner. At the age of 90, she is still at it, even with her disability – advanced macular degeneration. What an inspiring woman! It’s a special gift when you’re able to learn cooking and recipes from the eldest in your family. Rita taught her daughter, and her granddaughter Meredith how to cook and bake.  This is also how I learned, so the sentiment touches me.

I was given a can of strawberry jelly from Rita. It’s so delicious! I used mine on sourdough bread with butter. I feel the need to share this sweet recipe with you!

Grandma Rita

Grandma Ritas’ Strawberry Jelly

(makes, 5, 8 ounce jelly jars)
2 cups of mashed strawberries (based on the strawberries being mashed, not whole)
4 cups sugar
1 box Sure Jell (found at most supermarkets) or use natural pectin

Directions: Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water. Mash the strawberries and mix in 4 cups of sugar, thoroughly.  Boil water and add the Sure Jell – follow the directions on the package. Combine the strawberries into the Sure Jell and mix well so it’s not gritty. Use a funnel to fill each 8 ounce jar,  leaving some room at the top. Wipe the jars clean, place lids on tightly and leave out for 24 hours. Then refrigerate.

This is “freezer jelly” – lasts up to 5 weeks in the refrigerator.

If you haven’t grown your own, visit Edgemere Farm (385 B 45 St, Queens, NY 11691) for strawberries and other local fruit!

Follow me in the garden day-to-day on instagram – @theglorifiedtomato


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