April 20th, 2010

Strawberries in Syrup

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In Tennessee, fresh strawberries are soon to come, their small white flowers giving way to ripe fruit. They are especially juicy, finger-staining when picked, fleeting in the pleasure they bring.

But, some of that pleasure can be simply preserved.

For our Nashville Earth Day Festival, I demonstrated some basic methods in “Yes We Can Can”—a beginners guide to the seemingly daunting home canning process.

As a novice canner myself, I find that sometimes newcomers to an art are more helpful in Demystifying the Daunting: In other words, if I can do this, so can you!

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This recipe for Strawberries in Syrup requires nothing more than ripe berries, sugar, and fresh lemon. There’s no pectin for thickening, as you would use for jellies or jam.

So, it’s a tetch thinner than what you find in the stores, but perfect for spooning over ice cream, shortcake, (or, as seen here, BOTH!) pancakes, and the like. Or spread over a piece of hot buttered sourdough toast…

And the flavor—ahhh—intensely strawberry. Not too sweet: the lemon giving it a nice boost before it disappears into the background.

Now, for preserving: The equipment list isn’t long.
Mason jars, lids, rings,
a big pot for your boiling hot water bath
Tongs to pull out the processed jars,
rack for the big pot’s interior
A wide-mouthed Funnel to guide your pouring
Time involved–about an hour. Really.
Not a bad trade-off when you consider how nice those berries in syrup will be tomorrow, or next November…

skimming the foam

Strawberries in Syrup
2 qts. fresh Strawberries, washed, stemmed, hulled
2 1/2 cups Sugar
Juice from 1 Lemon

Quarter strawberries and put into a 3 qt. saucepan on medium heat. Stir in sugar and lemon juice. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off foam as it accumulates on the surface. You’ll want a nice, clear syrup, and this removes any impurities. Sugar will cook into the juices and thicken somewhat.

Have mason jars washed in hot soapy water, rinsed well, and dried. Have big pot filled with water to cover the jars by about 2 inches. Bring this to a boil.

Fill jars with strawberries and syrup, leaving a half inch gap at the top. Wipe the rims and place the sealing cap on top. Put on the ring bands and tighten.

Lower into the boiling water. Set timer for 10 minutes and process. Remove the jars and let cool. Soon, you will hear the distictive POP sound of the seal being made. Hurray!

Any extra strawberries and syrup can be kept in the refrigerator and enjoyed during the week to come.
Makes 5 half pints (or 2 pints and 1 half pint)

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These cakes can be made in a snap, and use ingredients so basic to the pantry. They are rather receptive to the syrupy goodness… and the melting ice cream.

Basic Genoise Cakes
4 Eggs, room temperature
4 T. melted Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup All Purpose Flour, sifted twice
1/8 t. Salt
1 t. Vanilla

1-9″ round cake pan, greased -or-
4-6 small ramekins or brulee ovals

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs with salt, vanilla, sugar until tripled in volume. Fold in melted butter and flour. Pour into greased baking pan(s) and bake for 15 minutes, if using individual ramekins, or 20-25 minutes if using 9″ round cake pan.

When cooled, remove from pans. Serve with vanilla ice cream and strawberries in syrup.

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Posted in Desserts, Fruit, Recipes

17 Responses to “Strawberries in Syrup”
  1. Nancy Says:

    Mmmm, I’m imagining the intensity of these strawberries and wishing I had some with my breakfast right now! The mini genoise cakes look wonderful, too – what a perfect spring/summer dessert.

    Still a month at least until the strawberries arrive at the greenmarket in nyc – more than enough time to get prepped for canning. Thank you for these great ideas!

  2. Tracy Says:

    I can think of nothing more satisfying than strawberries in syrup over toasted sourdough in the heart of winter. I bought some canning jars yesterday. I’m determined this year. I have never canned. Wish me luck!

  3. Fluffy Says:

    my suggestion is to eat the cake when it is warm —let the syrup really soak into it! YUM

  4. Michelle Says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months & never caught that you’re in TN.
    We too a so very much looking forward to the month of May when we do lots of strawberry picking over here in west TN.
    It was an annual tradition for me & my G’ma & mom, & her sisters since I was a wee thing & through the years. And now with my husband, our children & their fairy Godmother.

    Good & healthy & espec. good memories of such fun finding the juicy red treasures hidden amongst the big green leaves in the long rows of our favorite strawberry patches.

  5. Patrick O'Rourke Says:

    My blood sugar went through the roof just reading this recipe, but what the hell.

  6. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Tracy–it’s truly easy-peasy to do this, and I know that you won’t need luck, you got the gift :)

    Hi Michelle–thanks so much for your lovely comment; strawberry picking is fabulous treasure hunt, one of the best kinds!

    Nancy–the mini-genoise cakes are super simple; it’s nice to make cakes sometimes that don’t require baking soda or powder for leavening.

    P.O.—Ha!! what the hell is right—these are healthy elevators….

  7. mark Says:

    Jaw-dropping gorgeous color! I can just taste these…

  8. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    I like that pectin is absent from this recipe, it means less sugar to add. These strawberries are wonderful and versatile, and good enough to substitute until they come into season again.

  9. Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes Says:

    Oh the strawberry syrup sounds amazing!

  10. Leisa Hammett Says:

    Okay. That first photo, especially, is just plain seductive. Your writing is grand. Love the “Yes we can-can!” I hope your heart is filled with joy and happiness, bc you seem to be living a life full of passion–specifically a very focused passion using your many gifts. Good for you!

  11. rachel Says:

    I am going to try this – I will let you know – I am trying (and often) failing to preserve something every month. I like the idea of having some Strawberries in syrup in November and Vincenzo loves them. The strawberries in Rome are lovely this year and the tiny wild ones from near Nemi are magic. Geniose cakes too – lovely lovely.

  12. Erin Says:

    I am trying this right now. This is my first time canning. How long will the preserves keep?

  13. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Erin, these should last, stored on a shelf out of sunlight, for a year (if they last that long, you’ll no doubt eat them up before that!) as long as you get a good seal. Congrats and Cheers!

  14. gina Says:

    I bit confused, never did any canning before. After I wash, rinse and dried (do I air dry?) the jar do I add cooked strawberries, cover seal then put into boiling water 2 inches above the jars. Will the jars float? In your equipment, what is the rack for the big pot for?

  15. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Gina–all good questions.
    Yes, it is best to air dry.
    No, the jars will not float, but that rack keeps them from bobbing around on the bottom of the pot as the water boils. Tongs help lower the jars into the pot, as well as lift them out. I hope this helps. Enjoy your canning experience.



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