Strawberry Preserves (5 to 7 jars)
5 cups strawberries, ripe but not soft (toss out the spoiled ones--one bad berry could spoil the jam, but keep the unriped berries--they contain more natural pectin)
4 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed and strained)
1/4 cup kirsch
Prepare 5 (or more) half-pint jars, lids, and bands according to their directions.
Wash, and hull the berries. Let them stand, hulled side down, on paper toweling until dry. Put in a large stoneware pot with the sugar. Cover and let them stand overnight, stirring once or twice. (Don't rush this step.)
The next day, slowly heat the berries until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice, raise the heat, and boil gently about 15 to 20 minutes until
thickened. (It may be longer--using a jelly thermometer it should register about 220 degrees F). Test by placing a small amount on a saucer and putting it in the freezer. If it jells, then it is done. Remove the jam from the heat while testing. If it isn't quite there, put it back on the heat, and repeat until it is done. Skim the foam from the top. Stir in the kirsch. Immediately ladle into hot jars and seal. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes or longer (depending upon where you live).
I use to always store my preserves in the refrigerator. If any of the seals don't take, you must store them in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks. Also, I would not alter this recipe in anyway--it is important to use the right amount of sugar--it acts as a preservative. Also, the brandy acts as a preservative. If you don't want to use alcohol--use a different recipe. Be careful! Hot jam can burn you badly.