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Strawberries in Light Syrup ~ The Berry Saga Continues…

March 19, 2011

Preserving fruits whole is a great way to savour their natural flavours.  We love peaches in light syrup and the pears always get eaten too quickly.  So, while we are surrounded by juicy, sweet, ripe strawberries we thought we would try preserving them whole.

The process of preserving fruits in a sugar syrup is really simple and depending on the type of fruit you choose  it can be simply a matter of washing the fruit, poking it a few times and covering in a boiling syrup that consists of nothing more than water and sugar.  Plums are the easiest but we find that when it comes to whole fruits all of the recipes are straightforward and quick.   This is a great place for new canners to begin. 


  • 16 cups strawberries ~ tops removed (select berries that are similar in size and on the smaller side)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  1. Wash strawberries well and remove stems.
  2. Place strawberries and sugar in a large stainless steel saucepan and stir gently until all of the berries are well coated.  Cover and set aside in a cool place for approximately 5 hours.
  3. Prepare for water bath canning.
  4. Heat berry and sugar mixture over medium low heat stirring gently to be sure not to break apart the berries.  The sugar will dissolve, turning into the syrupy liquid that will cover the finished product and the berries should be heated through.  Note: you want to make sure that the berries are warm right through this will help to prevent fruit float.
  5. Remove from heat and using a slotted spoon fill hot sterilized jars with strawberries.  Ladle hot liquid into each jar, leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary by adding more hot liquid.  Note: if you do not have enough of the sugary liquid you can add boiling water. 
  6. Wipe rims with a damp paper towel.  Center lid on jar and screw band down to finger tip tight.
  7. Process 500mL jars for 10 minutes and 1L jars for 15 minutes in a boiling hot water bath. 
  8. Remove lid and wait 5 minutes before removing the jars.  Note:  leaving the jars in the hot water bath rather than removing them quickly will help to prevent siphoning.  Siphoning commonly occurs when there is a rapid change in temperature. 
  9. Let cool, check seals, label, and store.

This was our first time preserving strawberries whole and we’ll admit we were not convinced that they would taste great.  In fact, our strawberries floated slightly in the jars and their colour is faded.  So before packing them up to take back home to Canada we decided to crack a jar and give them a taste.  Mmmm…they’re good and despite their appearance in the jar we will be making these red little beauties again!  Easy and delicious…it doesn’t get better than that.

Put up Total:

  • 2 x 500mL Weck Tulip Jars
  • 2 x 1 L Weck Tulip Jars
6 Comments leave one →
  1. newgem permalink
    March 19, 2011 5:39 pm

    We love strawberries too! Check out our strawberry wrap!

  2. March 20, 2011 12:45 am

    Our strawberry plants will be going into year 2. I’ll have to remember this recipe if we have an abundance of strawberries.

  3. Brooke - in Oregon permalink
    March 20, 2011 9:56 am

    I dream of strawberries! lol I did not know about the Siphoning thing, great tip, thanks

  4. March 27, 2011 10:01 pm

    Mmm, these look delicious. It sounds like you came up with a winner.

  5. Rachel Mac permalink
    July 3, 2012 5:21 pm

    Quick question about sugar and preserving…. Does sugar have preservative qualities or is it more for taste, and to aid in jelling? I want to make preserved cut up/ mashed berries, and don’t care if it forms a more tradition jam thickness, but am nervous about cutting back on the sugar in recipes in case that’s not safe. Most jam recipes I’ve found have as much sugar as berries, or almost as much, and use pectin. If I don’t care about the thickness of the finished product, can I go through the same steps as jam, but use 1 cup sugar for 8 cups berries (or something low like that), no pectin, and still be safe? Thanks for any advice.

    • July 7, 2012 9:41 am

      Yes, sugar does have preservation qualities. Lots of people do cut back the sugar…half the amount of sugar to fruit is a good rule of thumb. You can substitue honey or maple syrup for white cane sugar. Fruit that is low in pectine needs some kind of add to reach the set point…using lemon juice (high in pectin) is a great way to achieve this and will reduce cooking time which helps to preserve the natural flavours of the fruit. Hope this helps.

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