Friday, July 19, 2013

Antique Strawberry Preserves II - The Recipe

This is the recipe I use.  I keep it just like this because I'm sentimental.  My grandmother, who tells stories of making this with her grandmother, Pearl, wrote it for me one hot afternoon. 

I happened to be in my hometown (which is rare) and I happened to stop by my grandmother's house.  It was a sweltering day, and her house was suffused with the sweet, sticky smell of fresh preserves.  I didn't care about the weather, or the fact that the preserves were still warm, I ate three slices of homemade bread slathered in this goodness!  So, she wrote the recipe on a scrap piece of paper as I listened to her memories and licked my fingers.

The way she tells it you'll need:

1)   2 quarts of fresh (preferably locally picked) berries
  • Cap and cut them up into small pieces
  • Grandmother prefers to leave a few of the berries whole so that in the winter time you can get a "mouthful of summer" as she puts it.
  • My child would freak out if he got a mouthful of we stick to the small pieces

2)   Add the berries and 4 cups of sugar to a large pot.

  • Please remember that this recipe is probably not great for diabetics or those who are averse to sugar!  This recipe was created in a time when electric freezers didn't exist and sugar came in 50lb bags!

3) Boil hard for 2 minutes then remove from heat

4) Add 2 more cups of sugar and then boil for 5 more minutes 

  • Even I cringe at this one...more sugar??  I'm sure there is a way to create a gel texture with less sugar and the addition of pectin as we see in more modern recipes.  Go ahead and give that a try.  Tell me how it works out!  But for now, I'm not changing a thing.  It's about the connection...

5) Pour into shallow pan and let set overnight.  In the morning when it is cool store it in pint sized mason jars and freeze. 

  Grandma says, "It will be a little runny, but who cares?"

- Daisy

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