When I was younger, my mum had a very special tradition she brought with her from her native UK: Sunday Dinner. A time when the WHOLE family gathered around the kitchen table for a roast dinner, complete with dessert. Though I may not have appreciated this as much as I child as I do now, I always LOVED Sunday evening desserts. As I've gotten older, this is one tradition I have tried to keep up in my own home, and one of my favourite things about summer break is that I have some extra time to myself, and thus, extra time to bake and cook! One of the other amazing things about summer is all of the fresh fruit and veggies that are in-season and easy to come by, and I absolutely love fresh strawberries! So today, I'm sharing with you one of my favourite Sweet Treats, Strawberry Preserves.
What are strawberry preserves? Similar to a jam or jelly, preserves are a type of fruit 'spread' that can be added to breakfasts, baked goods, or desserts (like topping on ice cream). Unlike jams or jellies, preserves contain large chunks of fruit and aren't necessarily as 'spreadable'. I love Strawberry preserves because they have just the right amount of sweetness, and are unbelievably versatile in terms of their use. You can add them to pancakes, parfaits, scones, or even have a spoonful on its own. Preserves are also a great way to capture and save the taste of summer for when you're craving something sweet in the fall or winter, and make lovely gifts when attending a dinner party.
This quick and easy recipe comes from one of my main go-to cookbooks 'Make It Paleo' by Bill Staley and Haley Mason, and includes only 5 ingredients
- 4 Cups of Chopped Strawberries
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (I use organic)
- 1 tbsp of lemon zest
- 1 tbsp of unflavoured gelatin
The prep time is approximately 25 minutes, and total cook time is about 35 minutes plus one hour of refrigeration to allow the preserves to gel and set once they've been boiled down. I feel like this is one of those highly dependable, almost no fail recipes: all you have to do is boil the ingredients and bottle them! If you do want the full recipe, you can find the e-book or paper version of 'Make It Paleo' through amazon, or you could follow one of the plenty others available online. I will say that the reason I prefer the 'paleo' recipe is that it substitutes maple syrup for processed sugar and calls for a relatively lower amount than other recipes online.
One really important consideration in this recipe and that of any other jam is proper sterilization of your mason jars/containers to avoid contamination. I found these cute little mason jars at Dollarama and sterilized them by washing them in hot soapy water, and then baking them! You also have to make sure to seal them tightly, especially if you plan to store them for a long time.
Your finished product will be a sweet, gooey, semi-spreadable strawberry gel that you can either use right away, or save for a later date. I'm not going to lie, one of these jars is already gone! The other two I'm saving next weekend when I make another favourite, Chia Seed Pudding parfait. So if you happen to go berry picking this summer, you know what you can do with the extra strawberries after you've made all your pies, daiquiris and jams. Check back in next week to see how I put this tasty treat to use!
Happy Sunday Friends!