Hardly another week, the school will close the door for summer holidays. But, summer is nowhere near in sight for at least the next ten days. Still, we haven't folded yet the umbrella and stored boots away. The only positive thing, my plants get some water. The cold weather has slowed the blooming season and my plants struggle to thrive. I have a strawberry plants,it runs everywhere, multiplied in three years. But the berries are really small this year like a raspberry, time to get rid of them. It is not fun to have berries at home, you really need to save those fruits from the earth bugs which is a pain. Literally, I use to check everyday those berries. But still , my son enjoys plucking them! I have collected only very few last years, probably a dozen :)
Last year (2010) - strawberries in my backyard!
As berries are invading the farmers market right now. I came back with a crate of strawberries. The strawberries cannot be kept for long in refrigerate, it spoils easily in matter of two to three days. I had no idea what to do other than freezing and eating alone loads of berries. Preserve was the only option to save those fruits.
For years, I had no idea of preserve is different than jam/jelly. Though they sound alike : made with fruits, sugar and pectin.
Jam has a smooth consistency made with ground fruit and little stiff when scooped.
Jelly made from fruit juice and firm consistency too.
Preserve has a coarse consistency with chunk of fruits and thinner texture. Though I never eat jam/preserve , my son loves PB & J once in a while for his lunch box! So it was my first try in preserve and even found not bad the PB & J. This homemade preserve has only two ingredients: strawberry and sugar , lemon (optional but I didn't use it) but need a patience and precaution to store properly.
Strawberry: 6 cups -cleaned and hulled
Sugar: 1+ 1/4 cup (can be increased by 1/2-depend of sweetness of fruit)
Pulse the strawberries or coarsely mashed them.
Take a large pot, add the berries and sugar and cook in medium heat.
It took 40 minutes- my berries were extremely juicy.
Test the consistency. When it is done, pour the hot preserve in glass jar and store in refrigerator.
I kept in counter top a small amount. It stays well (it is almost 10 days I made it)
Chill a plate in freezer for 30 minutes.
Take a spoonful of preserve and drop in plate.
Now tilt the plate slightly and run your finger in middle. If the preserve don't run back. It is ready!
For the glass jars:
I boiled the jars in hot water and dried it. Before pouring the preserve , popped in microwave for few seconds.
Never touch the inside of jar. Be cautious handling hot preserve