It is strawberry season here in India, and I’ve taken to making this preserve each time I get strawberries to enjoy them for longer. It has a very soft set, like those french preserves from Bonne Maman, but much cheaper. This recipe is so easy and quick, a mere 30 minutes of total work on your part. It does not use any extra pectin for setting as berries and citrus are both naturally high in pectin, both of which I have used here. You could use it with bread (duh), but it also tastes great as a topping for cheesecake, sauce for dessert and even on its own. It tastes so good that I actually emptied an entire jar all by myself because I ate spoonfuls every time I craved dessert.
Makes: 400gms of preserve ; Duration: 30 minutes + 30 minutes refrigeration
Strawberries – 550gms
Sugar – 200gms
Orange juice – 50ml
Lime juice – from half a lime
Vanilla essence – 1 teaspoon
1) Hull the strawberries. Reserve around 10 strawberries, and puree the rest. Roughly chop up the reserved strawberries. I do this because I want that textural variation of soft bits of fruit in an otherwise smooth preserve. 2) Add sugar, lime juice and orange juice to the puree and mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Really, this is the longest part of the recipe! 3) Place the puree in a large saucepan. This is because the preserve will boil and bubble up, and since it is hot sugar you MUST be careful. Add the chopped strawberries. Cook for 15-20 minutes over medium-high heat, scraping down the sides and bottom to prevent burning. Cook till it goes from pinkish-red to jewel toned, translucent ruby red. It will also thicken and reduce considerably.
from this pinkish-red…
… to this rich ruby red!
4)Take off the heat. Stir in the vanilla. When it comes to preserves and pickles, water is the enemy. It makes them spoil easily. Therefore, let cool completely before you pour it into containers. DO make sure it is completely cool. Any small residual heat will create steam, which will make it spoil quicker. Also make sure that your containers are completely dry too. Use dry spoons too.
dark chocolate pudding with strawberry preserve