Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Strawberry Preserves

I grew up in a small town called Atca in the Aegean region of Turkey. I was lucky to be born in a beautiful place with beautiful people where life was simple and pure.

With Menderes river going thru the region, crops were plenty: Olives, cotton, all sorts of fruits- figs, grapes, peaches, you name it!

In September cotton is ready for harvest

 Famous golden figs from Aydin region
Traditionally, season's first olive oil is tasted with dry figs...

Sweet, aromatic Mandarin oranges

Strawberries were mostly wild. They were small, sweet and incredibly aromatic. Yes, we  had strawberries, but, they were not one of the major crops of the region. Over the years, however, my hometown became famous for its strawberries. Now, they have an annual “Strawberry Festival” complete with parades, games, pie contests and even a beauty contest where a cute local belle is crowned with a basket of strawberries in her hand.

Here’s my recipe for Strawberry Preserves. Enjoy!

  • 1 lb of fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash, hull and drain strawberries. Cut each strawberry into half. Place them in a large bowl. Pour sugar over the strawberries, set aside for about 2 hours. Strawberries will release their juices.

Strawberries covered with sugar in a bowl

Strawberries release their juices

Place the contents of the bowl into a pot, bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat to slow and let it simmer until the berries are translucent. When white foam forms on the top, remove it with a spoon. Add lemon juice, stir and cook for another minute. Remove from heat. Let it cool to room temperature. Put the preserves in jars, keep in the refrigerator.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

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