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Pickled Strawberries

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Pickled strawberries are a unique way to preserve strawberries in season, and their sweet-tart flavor is incredible on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream!

A few years back, a farmer friend of mine told me about farmers selling pints of green strawberries at the farmer’s market in San Fransisco. Apparently, they were all the rage with chefs, who took them home and pickled them for fancy, high-dollar plates at their restaurants.
I was curious, and this year I hoped to pick green strawberries to give it a shot…but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Those strawberries are going to be so much better ripe, and early in the season, I didn’t want to waste any of them on a recipe that may or may not be worth writing home about.
As the season wore on, though, I found myself buried in strawberries, as I do every year…and I went out to see if I could pick a few green ones…but it was too late!  They were all ripe and sitting on my kitchen counter already!
Who needs green strawberries, picked before they’re juicy and flavorful?  Pickled ripe strawberries are going to be even better!
Fresh fruit pickling recipes are an old-fashioned treat, and the added vinegar is balanced by sugar to create a tangy, sweet, tart treat that works wonderfully with both sweet and savory dishes.  These, in particular, are great on ice cream (and my morning yogurt), and I’m enjoying them a lot more than a fancy (but flavorless) green strawberry!  

Who says pickling is just for cucumbers? You’ve got to try pickled strawberries! 
Canning pickled strawberries is a delicious and unique way to preserve this beloved fruit. If you’re not familiar, pickling is a process in which fruits or vegetables are soaked in vinegar, sugar, and spices to create a tangy and sweet flavor. The result is a perfect blend of sweet and sour that can be enjoyed on its own – or as a condiment for meats, salads, or sandwiches.
Not only is pickling strawberries a tasty treat, but it is also a great way to extend the life of your favorite fruit. By canning them, you are locking in all the nutritional benefits that strawberries offer. They are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber, making them a healthy addition to any meal or snack.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to pickled strawberries. You can experiment with different spices and herbs to create your own unique flavor profile. Some popular additions include cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and thyme. You can also adjust the sweetness levels to suit your taste.
Ingredients for Pickled Strawberries
This is a safe, tested canning recipe adapted from The Complete Book of Pickling by Jennifer MacKenzie.  She actually has several recipes for pickled strawberries, and in other versions, she substitutes white balsamic vinegar for cider vinegar and adds pink peppercorns for a bit of spice.  You can adapt this recipe to use those ingredients if you please or go with a simpler cider vinegar variation.
The spices are optional, and you can use any dry spices you like to flavor your pickled strawberries (or none at all).  The salt is also optional, but really adds depth to these fruit pickles.
The ingredients for canning pickled strawberries are quite simple.  To make a canner batch of eight 8-ounce (250 mL) jars, you’ll need the following:

12 cups hulled strawberries (3 L)
3 cups granulated sugar (750 mL)
2 cups apple cider vinegar (500 mL)
1 tsp pickling or canning salt (5 mL) 

Optional seasonings:

½ tsp ground cinnamon (2 mL)
¼ tsp ground cloves (1 mL)
Pinch of ground allspice

Use strawberries that are clean and uniform in size. If you have some that aren’t the same size as the others, the final texture will be poor.

Canning Pickled Strawberries
To get started, gather your ingredients and equipment. You’ll need fresh strawberries, sugar, salt,  and spices (if using), as well as a wide pot, canner, jars, and lids. 
Prick the strawberries with a toothpick and cut the larger ones in half, then set them aside while you prepare the pickling liquid.
Combine the sugar, salt, and spices (if using) in your pot and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. When the sugar and salt have dissolved, and the liquid has cooled, add the strawberries and toss gently to coat. Cover the pot and let the berries stand at a cool room temperature for six to eighteen hours, swirling often to coat them evenly.
This allows the pickling liquid to fully penetrate the strawberries, which helps them hold together during canning.  The sugar and vinegar firm up the fruit, and if you skip this step, they’ll be mushy.
When the time is up, warm the strawberries over medium-low heat, taking care not to overcook them. Meanwhile, prepare your jars by washing and sterilizing them and heating your canner and lids. 
Ladle the strawberries and pickling liquid into the jars, leaving a half-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace as needed. Wipe the rims, apply the lids, and screw on the bands until they’re fingertip-tight.
Process your jars in the water bath canner, letting them boil for ten minutes (for pints and half pints), or 15 minutes if above 6,000 feet in elevation. When the time is over, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid, then let the jars sit in the water for another five minutes. Carefully transfer them to a towel and let them cool for at least 24 hours. Check the seals, and refrigerate any jars that didn’t seal properly.

Serving Pickled Strawberries
When it comes to serving pickled strawberries, the options are endless! First, let’s clarify that they are a “heat and eat” dish that requires no additional ingredients at serving. Just pop open the jars, and you’re ready to go!
So how can you enjoy these sweet and tangy berries? 
One classic option is to top a warm biscuit with whipped cream and a spoonful of pickled strawberries. It’s a perfect balance of flavors and textures. You can also serve it over a slice of shortcake or pound cake for a more indulgent dessert. 
If you’re looking for a way to brighten up your fruit salad, throw some pickled strawberries in there! The pickling liquid can even be used as a dressing, if you choose. 
For a savory application, try serving pickled strawberries as a condiment alongside rich meats or pate. The acidity will cut through the richness and add a refreshing element to your dish. 
All in all, pickled strawberries are a versatile and delicious addition to any meal. Give them a try, and get creative with your serving options!
Strawberry Canning Recipes, including homemade strawberry jam and pickled strawberries.
Altitude Adjustments
Water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes, so jars need to be processed a bit longer as you go up in elevation.  Here are the altitude adjustments for canning pickled strawberries (times for half pints and pints are the same):

For 0 to 1,000 Feet in Elevation – Process pint jars for 10 minutes, and quart jars for 15 minutes.
For 1,001 to 6,000 Feet in Elevation – Process pint jars for 15 minutes, and quart jars for 20 minutes.
Above 6,001 Feet in Elevation – Process pint jars for 20 minutes, and quart jars for 25 minutes.

Strawberry Canning Recipes
Looking for more creative strawberry canning recipes?

Yield: Eight 8-ounce (250 mL) jars

Pickled Strawberries

Prep Time:
10 minutes

Cook Time:
1 day

Additional Time:
10 minutes

Total Time:
10 minutes

Pickled strawberries are a unique way to preserve strawberries in season, and their sweet-tart flavor is incredible on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream!

Ingredients

12 cups hulled strawberries (3 L)

3 cups granulated sugar (750 mL)

2 cups apple cider vinegar (500 mL)

1 tsp pickling or canning salt (5 mL)

Optional Spices

½ tsp ground cinnamon (2 mL)

¼ tsp ground cloves (1 mL)

Pinch of ground allspice

Instructions
Gather your ingredients and equipment. You’ll need fresh strawberries, sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon, vinegar, and allspice, as well as a wide pot, canner, jars, and lids. Prick the strawberries with a toothpick and cut the larger ones in half, then set them aside while you prepare the pickling liquid.Combine the sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon, vinegar, and allspice in your pot and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. When the sugar and salt have dissolved, and the liquid has cooled, add the strawberries and toss gently to coat. Cover the pot and let the berries stand at a cool room temperature for six to eighteen hours, swirling often to coat them evenly.When the time is up, warm the strawberries over medium-low heat, taking care not to overcook them. Prepare your jars by washing and sterilizing them and heating your canner and lids. Ladle the strawberries and pickling liquid into the jars, leaving a half-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace as needed. Wipe the rims, apply the lids, and screw on the bands until they’re fingertip-tight.Process your jars in the water bath canner for 10 minutes (for pints and half pints), adjusting for altitude (see notes).When the time is over, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid, then let the jars sit in the water for another five minutes. Carefully transfer them to a towel and let them cool for at least 24 hours. Check the seals, and refrigerate any jars that didn’t seal properly.

Notes

This is a safe, tested canning recipe adapted from The Complete Book of Pickling by Jennifer MacKenzie.  She actually has several recipes for pickled strawberries, and in other versions, she substitutes white balsamic vinegar for cider vinegar and adds pink peppercorns for a bit of spice.  You can adapt this recipe to use those ingredients if you please or go with a simpler cider vinegar variation.The spices are optional, and you can use any dry spices you like to flavor your pickled strawberries (or none at all).  The salt is also optional but really adds depth to these fruit pickles.Altitude AdjustmentsFor 0 to 1,000 Feet in Elevation – Process pint jars for 10 minutes, and quart jars for 15 minutes.For 1,001 to 6,000 Feet in Elevation – Process pint jars for 15 minutes, and quart jars for 20 minutes.Above 6,001 Feet in Elevation – Process pint jars for 20 minutes, and quart jars for 25 minutes.

Fruit Pickling Recipes
Fruit pickles are delicious!  Don’t stop with pickled strawberries; there’s so much more you can enjoy with the sweet-tart flavor of fruit pickles!

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