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Strawberry Topping

This is not overly sweet as there is no actual sugar/maple syrup/honey included - but there is a little bit of apple 'sugar' - which is dehydrated apples (until crunchy) and ground up into 'apple sugar'.  The apples provide natural pectin for thickening.  This topping is quite spreadable, but not as firm as jam or jelly.  Great over ice cream, simple cake - or stirred into yoghurt.
Also - this recipe is a waterbath method

1) Thoroughly wash strawberries - hull and cut into medium to large chunks (they will cook down smaller).
2) Put the strawberries in a large stainless pot. 
I had about 8 cups chopped berries.
Add 2 cups fruit juice (I used peach, but apple is good, too)

Bring up to low simmer and simmer for about 1 hour.  Scrape bottom of pan occasionally with a flat stainless spatula (you need to scrape the bottom as it wants to stick).

When mixture is reduced by half, stir in 1/2 cup 'apple sugar'.  Stir well, continue to simmer, scraping bottom occasionally.
3) Continue cooking until the mixture reaches the "2 drop stage".
That's a really old-fashioned term for cooking jelly/jam without added pectin.  It means that the jelly/jam is done when 2 big drops slide together and form a sheet that hangs from the edge of the spoon.
 ** Note ** Cooking to this stage may take a while
The picture is NOT a 2-drop example - but it is the type of spoon you should use - a large stainless serving spoon.  I took a gazillion pictures, but could not seems to capture the 2-drop itself - but you get the idea.

Lower the heat to very low and hold the mixture until the waterbath water is boiling.

4) Select a pot large enough that the water will cover the jars by at least 1" after the jars are put into the water.
Fill the pot halfway with water and start heating.

It is always a guess as to how much water you need to have in the pot - too little and you cool the water down when you add more
- too much and it goes over the top - NOT an option!
Here's my trick:
I fill the big pot slightly less than half way and start heating.
Then I fill another fairly large regular cooking pot with water and start that heating, too.  Hot water from this 2nd pot will be added to the larger pot as necessary after I have the jars in the water and if I need more to cover the necessary 1".

5) When the large pot of water reaches boiling, turn down slightly and carefully (using tongs) place the empty jars in the boiling water.  Allow all jars to sit in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes.  Start another small pot with water to boil - when boiling, turn off and put your seals in to warm.

6) Carefully (again with tongs) remove the jars from the boiling water - be CAREFUL that the water does not run down the tongs on you.  Place the hot jars on a large baking tray (to catch the mess).

7) With a jar filler and ladle, carefully fill the jars, leaving 1" headspace.  With a clean paper towel carefully clean the rims and just inside the neck.  If necessary clean the rims again - they must be completely clean or you will not get a seal.

Add seals (lids) and rings - only screwing the rings on finger-tight.
If the large pot of water is boiling, temporarily lower temperature to low simmer (too hot may crack a jar).
Place the filled jars in the water.  When all jars are in the pot, the water should cover the jars at least 1".  If necessary, add more hot water from the extra pot.  Bring water back to boil.

Process jars at full boil for :
Pints (and half pints):  15 minutes
Quarts:  20 minutes

Make Sure to Adjust for Your Altitude
(Altitude Adjustment Chart)

If you are new to canning - or just want to see how I do it - check out my Personal Canning Routine

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