Strawberry preserves

Strawberry, Biggle Berry Book by Jacob Biggle, 1899

Strawberries grow all across the world both in the wild and in the garden. Since 200 BC strawberries have been a favorite food, most likely because of its abundance, its familiarity to people as they traveled (immigrated) and of course taste! During the 18th century the first cross bred strawberry was created using a Virginian variety and a Chilean strawberry, the result is the Pineapple or Pine strawberry.

This recipe calls for sugar, but honey was most likely substituted for sugar in 1776, because of the Sugar Act that lasted from 1763 to 1776. The Sugar Act, was a tax placed on sugar, wine and other items by the British. Sugar in the eighteenth century traditionally came in a cone shape, called a sugarloaf, and was semi-hard. Sugar nippers or other tools were used to break off bits of sugar.

White sugar cone and sugar nippers available at Jas Townsend & Son, Inc.

STRAWBERRY PRESERVES

4 cups strawberries

5 cups sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

Prepare strawberries by cutting off the stems, washing and mashing. Mix the strawberries with the sugar and let stand unrefrigerated overnight. Place in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 8 minutes. Add the lemon juice and remove the the saucepan from stove. Skim. Let stand overnight unrefrigerated or until completely cooled, shaking occasionally. Most likely this won’t even make it to the refrigerate, any extra can be refrigerate in jars or pack in sterilized jars and seal.

This recipe was taken as is from The National Cook Book, by a Lady of Philadelphia, 1850.

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