Saturday, April 21, 2012

Homemade Strawberry Preserves

Yes, it has been a while since the last I put up a post on this blog. Life has been busy in general, which is great. Strawberries are in season now and for those of you who do not know it, I am a huge strawberry fanatic. I love the look of it, the color, the shape, the smell, and most important of all, the taste. Good strawberries are hard to come by, and I am speaking of those naturally juice and sweet ones. Some of them are just so bland that I usually feed it to the dog.
But I can't possibly give her that many strawberries without risking her overactive bowel movements which will cause some gross and unhappy incidents in the house. The poor rug. Strawberry preserves seems to be the perfect solution and boy, I can kick myself in the ass for not attempting to make homemade preserve before. I found a super easy recipe, alter the sugar level to suit my taste, and voila......perfection in a container.
But before you embark on your preserve making journey, let me give you a fair warning about making preserves. A pound of berries yield only about 500ml of preserve. If strawberry is expensive where you are, forget about making your own and just buy a good brand jar. However, if you live in a place where berries are cheap, like yours truly, then go ahead and embark on a preserve discovery journey. It may not be easy but it is definitely delicious!

Homemade Strawberry Preserve
1lb strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
3/4 cup of sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon

1. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, mashed strawberries in batches. You can mashed it as fine as you like or leave it slightly chunky like I did.
2. Add in the sugar and lemon juice. Cook on low till sugar has fully dissolved. Stir occasionally.
3. Once sugar has fully dissolved, turn heat up to high. Continue cooking the berry mix till it comes up to a rolling boil. You are aiming for 220F on a candy thermometer. If you don't have one, cook the strawberry preserve till you can no longer see pink foam on the surface of the mix and then let it boil for another 5 minutes. Keep stirring to avoid preserve from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
4. Let cool before storing in a clean glass jar. You can process the jar for canning if you plan to keep this for a while. If you are consuming it immediately, just store it in your favorite jar, let cool completely before putting it in the fridge.
I usually served them with homemade NY-style bagels. Seems like a lot of work but it is a great weekend treat. Bagels with cream cheese and homemade preserve. 

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