Today finds me sitting in my favorite chair where I do most of my writing. It is the most comfortable one in the house and is great on my poor, suffering back when I need to be still for any length of time. The windows are open, a nice breeze is blowing and I am pondering upon great and deep universal truths. Actually, to be more accurate, I am wondering how I am going to write about Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves. It’s a great topic all by itself, I know, but I have a hankering to write, to be creative. And while Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves are right up there with Chaucer and Hemingway it doesn’t seem to satisfy. So… my mind wanders to headier things; preserves lead to preservation and preservation leads to thoughts on self-preservation. Voila; a topic I can sink my teeth into…not unlike my Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves. So I will put the tasty, delicious, and the easiest Low Strawberry Sugar Preserves you will ever make on hold for a moment, and contemplate the concept of self-preservation that is rampant in our society today. It seems to me our Western culture is consumed with this notion of self-preservation. We see a need to guard, protect, preserve, shield, maintain ourselves and our “things” at all costs. “Self, Me, I,” is what’s important here. The thought that I must accomplish this great thing, or that great task, to be worthy and acceptable is a pretty common school of thought amongst us. Not surprisingly, I think we have got it all wrong.
I would be remiss not to mention the topic today is on Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves and the real reason why I am writing this post. I digress only because the preserves are really very lovely and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on the fact that they are made with only fresh strawberries, lemon juice and a scant amount of sugar in comparison to most other jams. “Ahem… where was I?” Ah yes; self preservation. I think we have got it all wrong in our culture today. Self-preservation; holding on to who we think we are and what we think we need is actually in itself counter-productive to truly living. When we are so concerned about ourselves, all our thoughts turn inward; closing us off to the life around us. We become so busy grasping for survival, getting what’s coming to us, joy somehow is left out of the equation. One climbs the ladder to success, only to find it is leaning on the wrong building. It is empty, hollow and doesn’t satisfy.
I think true self-preservation is in letting go; living in the moment no matter what comes along. I happen to believe in a God that loves me and I know that he will provide for me, just because he said he would. Tomorrow’s financial picture may not always look rosy, but He hasn’t failed me yet. Simple trust and giving oneself away is the key to preservation. It is not “Self,” but God who meets my needs. Today’s culture may think I’ve lost my marbles. So be it. I choose to place my trust in Someone more reliable than me.
One of the secrets to this tasty Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves is in the way it is cooked. Each day for three days the preserves are brought to a boil and then the heat is backed off for a nice little simmer. This allows for the natural pectin in the fruits to step up slowly and take over making a nice preserve that isn’t cooked to death. The strawberries remain whole and the flavor is amazingly fresh. I like to add fresh ground black pepper for an unexpected pop of flavor, but feel free to leave it out if it is a little bit too adventurous for you. If you like a sweeter preserve add more sugar. Just be aware that the thickening process may be a bit faster and adjust your simmer time accordingly.
- 6½ cups small to medium sized strawberries, cleaned and hulled
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tsp freshly ground cracked black pepper (optional)
- First Day: Place cleaned and hulled whole strawberries in large non-aluminum pan. Add sugar, stir well. Cover and allow strawberries to sit for 4 hours to allow the sugar to dissolve and to draw juice from the berries (can sit overnight, if desired). Once sugar has dissolved and bowl has accumulated juice from the berries, place pan over medium heat, add cracked pepper (if using) and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. (foam may form on preserves when cooking. Don't worry, as it sits it will dissolve, leaving preserves bright and beautiful) Once berries have come to a boil, reduce heat to bring the berries to a hard simmer, cook 15 minutes more. Cover, remove from heat and allow berries to sit over night.
- Second Day: Return pan to medium heat and bring once again to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep the berries from sticking. Once boiling, reduce heat to a hard simmer, cook 10 minutes more. Cover, remove from heat and allow berries to sit overnight.
- Third Day: Return pan to medium heat and bring once again to a boil, stirring continually to keep the berries from sticking. Once boiling, reduce heat to a hard simmer continuing to stir, cook 5 minutes more. Remove preserves from heat. At this time you can process your preserves as you would for jams and jellies in a hot water bath or place jars into the refrigerator.
Low sugar Strawberry Preserves shared with:
The Sits Girls: Saturday Sharefest *Natasha in Oz: Say G’day *Create with Joy: Inspire Me Monday *My Pinterventures: Merry Mondays * Creative K Kids: Bloggers Brags *Pluckys Second Thoughts *The Sqishable Baby: Mommy’s Monday Blog Hop *Tumbleweed Contessa: What’d you do this Weekend *21 Century Housewife: Hearth and Soul *Memories by the Mile: Treasure Box Tuesday *Lou Lou Girls *Detours in Life: Tickle Me Tuesday *Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesday’s *Crafty Spices: Wordless Wednesday *The Shady Porch: Party on the Porch *Foody Schmoody: The Wednesday Roundup *Oh My Heartsie Girl: What I Made Wordless Wednesday *Sweet Haute: Sweet Haute Share Link Party
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”