Homemade preserves are so much better than any store bought variety, and more economical as well. When the preserves are spread over some freshly churned butter (I will cover in a future post) or some delicious cheese, believe it or not, the combination makes for a very tasty treat. I love making all kinds of preserves in the summer and the fall, as most berries and stone fruit are in season. However, living in the United States makes it much easier to still get all those kinds of fruit during any time of the year, but they taste best, when harvested during their season.
A couple of years ago, my husband, Kevin, and I went to Seattle for a mini vacation. We found a wonderful little crumpet shop in downtown Seattle, where we had breakfast every morning during our stay. They made delicious preserves to go with their cream cheese topped crumpets. It was the preserves that made the crumpets so good. When we returned to Dallas, we wanted to relive that delicious experience. So, I made some strawberry preserves, and instead of the crumpets, we used toasted sprouted bread to make it a bit healthier.
24 oz fresh Strawberries
1/3 cup Sugar – depending on the strawberries’ sweetness
1 small Lemon – juiced
1 tablespoon Orange Blossom Water (optional)
After washing the strawberries, dice or slice them into whatever size you like them to be. I suggest tasting the strawberries to gauge their sweetness, in order to make sure the sugar you add is not too much or too little. Put them in a saucier over medium low to low heat for 30 – 45 minutes, or until they break down.
Add the sugar and the lemon juice, then stir to combine. Let the preserves cook for another 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and add the orange blossom water, if you choose to do so. Adding the orange blossom water gives the preserves a little Lebanese flavor. It adds a hint of orange blossoms that takes the preserves from yummy to AMAZING. If you think that orange blossom water is just too “perfume like” for you, then please feel free to skip that step.
Allow the strawberry preserves to cool down completely, then place them in a clean and sterile mason jar or container. Put a date label on the container and place it in the refrigerator. The preserves will keep for a month or a little longer. Enjoy over a piece of toasted bread, or on anything you wish to put the preserves on, for that matter.