2 Quarts Fresh Strawberries (the more flavorful the better)
4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeling removed, coarsely grated
Sweetener, to your taste (We use 1/2 Cup Honey plus 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar; that may be a little less sweet than others prefer.)
Place Strawberries in stainless steel pot. Mash about half the Strawberries. Add Lemon Juice and Grated Apple. Place over medium heat, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil. Add Honey (or Honey and Sugar). Gently boil until mixture thickens, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove and cool.
Notes: The original version of this recipe came from the Amish Cookbook Cooking with Wisdom: Wholesome, Delicious, Simple Recipes for Health Conscious People (Carlisle Press, 1997). It was titled "Berry Jam". Our family has a habit of finding and combining recipes and then bringing them to our own taste.
We try to use ingredients which are freshest, organic (grown on healthy soils and without chemicals), local. We almost always reduce the amount of Sugar/Honey. When the Produce tastes the best, the need for Sweetener is reduced. The Fruit just stands on its own, which surely must be what Nature intended.
This recipe was originally called "Jam". Jam refers to thickened fruit that is broken up and cooked in indefinable pieces. Preserves refers to thickened fruit, some of which is whole. The addition of Sugar, especially early in the process helps the Fruit stay intact.
I called this "Strawberry Spread". It is not as thick as what I would call Jam or Preserves. It surely does not look like the store-bought stuff. The only Pectin (which is a thickener) which was used was the green Apple. This Spread has a slow pour. The more you cook it the slower it pours and the sweeter it will be because the Sugar has concentrated. The longer you cook it, the darker it will be, which is desirable to a point.
We use Strawberry Spread on Ice Cream, Cooked or Cold Cereal, Pancakes, Scones. After the beautiful days of Summer, this is a lovely Fall, Winter, and Early Spring treat when Fresh Strawberries from the Patch are a Memory.