decor & design with a recipe: russel wright and how to canning strawberry jam preserves

How To Canning Strawberries

To say that we are passionate about design and functionality is an understatement. While the myFudo team has individual tastes, we do tend to lean towards similar styles. Of course, as you might imagine, we love dinnerware. If we could, we would have a different set of dishes to suit our every mood.

One definite inclusion in our imaginary collection of dinnerware is a service for 12 of dinnerware created by Russel Wright, who introduced America to modern functional forms. He used sculptural, yet simplified shapes and pleasingly soft, yet cheery colors. He was a prolific industrial designer known for designing everything from dinnerware to appliances to furniture and fabrics.

Born in Ohio in 1904, Russel Wright could be considered American nobility. His mother had direct ties with two of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His father and grandfather were judges. Wright studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati while still in high school, but kept with family tradition and studied in preparation for a legal career while attending Princeton University. However, his artistic talent would not be suppressed and while at Princeton he was awarded several Tiffany & Co. prizes.

It was quite obvious that Wright’s career path would lead somewhere other than the courtrooms. He did not finish college, but instead went to NYC and worked with Norman Bel Geddes, a set designer. Wright worked as a set designer for a time and then he started his own design firm making theatrical props and small decorative cast metal objects. He created spun aluminum household objects like cocktail shakers, punch sets, sandwich humidors.

Holding Stawberries

Wright was married to Mary Small Einstein, a sculpture and designer from a wealthy family. Russel and Mary formed a partnership with Irving Richards, a designer and businessman. The first design for “Russel Wright Associates” was a very successful line of dinnerware called “American Modern”. Wright is best known for his “American Modern” dinnerware that was manufactured by Steubenville Pottery, in Steubenville, Ohio.

He also designed popular wooden furniture, table linens, “Casual China” for Iroquois China Company, melamine dinnerware, and textiles. He and Mary published “A Guide to Easier Living”. “Good informal living substitutes a little headwork for a lot of legwork. It doesn’t need wealth, but it does take thought, some ingenuity and resourcefulness, and more than a little loving care to create a home that is really your own.” –Russel and Mary Wright

Bold and innovative, Wright revolutionized the way people lived. His mass produced and reasonably priced products were an artistic, visual reminder of casual, contemporary American lifestyle influenced by his Midwest upbringing. His trademarked signature was the first to be identified with lifestyle-marketed products. Wright devoted much of his retirement years to working on his house, “Dragon Rock” in Garrison, NY. True to his nature, he created a home that was the embodiment of his work. Discussion of his home is the subject for another post. However, take a tour of “Dragon Rock” if ever in the vicinity of Garrison, NY and you will see firsthand the genius of Russell Wright.

We chose the subject of “Home Canning” as it is such an important part of American culinary history. Canning has often been associated with rural America-the south, the Midwest. But, today, the products we are seeing canned are innovative and exciting, while maintaining American tradition. (Video Below)

We thought we’d share more guidance from “The Good Housekeeping Cook Book” 1949 edition because it would be quite possible that if they were so inclined, Russel and Mary Wright might have used this very edition. However, after reading 20 pages of canning information, for the sake of clarity we decided to go with a basic recipe that is still reminiscent of early recipes (no pectin).

Strawberries are one of the first things we preserve each season. Picking your own is always the best option; buying fresh from your local market is next. But, if you have time to practice you can use frozen strawberries and then when it is time to pick the fresh ones you will have a system in place and will not waste your time or money (as picking can be more expensive than frozen ones these days).

{Looking for Russel Wright}

1. Ruby Lane
2. eCrater
3. Cube Marketplace

Strawberry Preserves (Makes four 8-ounce jars)
Ingredients:

1 1/2 quarts red, ripe strawberries
5 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

Directions:

1. Wash and hull strawberries. (Not necessary if using frozen) Combine berries with sugar in a large stainless steel pan; let stand for 3 to 4 hours.

2. Bring strawberries to a boil slowly, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice. Cook rapidly until strawberry mixture is clear and syrup is thick, about 15 minutes. (May take longer if using frozen strawberries.)

3. Pour mixture into a shallow pan and let stand, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours. Ladle strawberry mixture into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Water Bath Method

Please watch this extremely informative video. It is an excellent guide to canning using the water bath method. Supplies that are used in this video are readily available at many a Walmart and after your initial investment, canning is a frugal way to preserve foods.

Photography Data:

Guest Photographer
Tiffany Dahle
ApertureFNumber: f/3.2
Make: Canon
Model: Canon EOS REBEL T1i
ExposureTime: 1/200
FNumber: 32/10
ExposureProgram: 1
ISOSpeedRatings: 200
MaxApertureValue: 175/100
MeteringMode: 5
Flash: 16
FocalLength: 85/1

ApertureFNumber: f/4.0
Nikita Sobolkov (holding strawberries)
Make: Canon
Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ExposureTime: 1/125
FNumber: 4/1
ExposureProgram: 1
ISOSpeedRatings: 400
MaxApertureValue: 3/1
MeteringMode: 5
Flash: 16
FocalLength: 100/1

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13 comments

  • March 9, 2012 at 3:21 am //

    Looks like a wonderful jam! I have never canned, only jarred.

    • March 9, 2012 at 11:07 am //

      I have no idea why it’s called canning when we jar it lol “wink”

  • March 9, 2012 at 9:38 am //

    Love the video link, it helps a lot!

    • March 9, 2012 at 11:07 am //

      That’s wonderful Cindy, thank you for commenting.

  • March 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm //

    That looks yummy. I think I will have to try that with a cream tea. :-)

    • March 10, 2012 at 11:02 am //

      So intrigued Jennifer, what is cream tea?

  • March 10, 2012 at 1:30 am //

    What a beautiful batch of strawberry preserves. There’s no better flavor in the spring season. Your jam looks so delicious!

    • March 10, 2012 at 11:01 am //

      Thank you Georgia, and thank you so much for commenting. Our favorite to jar is Strawberries, what’s yours?

  • March 10, 2012 at 6:30 am //

    I’ve always wanted to try my hand at canning, but have always been a little hesitant. You definitely lay it out nicely and I believe I can totally do it now!

    • March 10, 2012 at 11:00 am //

      You are welcome Peggy, so happy you enjoyed the post, let us know how canning goes (or jarring). Thank you so much for commenting.

  • March 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm //

    Beautiful post and recipe. It makes jam making look so easy and it’s something I’ve always been a bit intimidated by.

    – I think a cream tea is a pot of tea with scones, jam and cream, we love those in Australia but it’s a British tradition.

  • March 11, 2012 at 7:16 am //

    You have me so ready for canning season! I can’t wait for the berries to start ripening here. My favorite time of year!

  • March 12, 2012 at 7:37 am //

    Thank you for sharing about Russell Wright, their designs sound wonderful! Canning is on my kitchen bucket list, I have always wanted to learn! Thank you for sharing with a video:-) Hugs, Terra