collage fruit preserves

Glyka tou koutaliou, which are traditional, homemade, spoons sweets are slowly disappearing.   Working housewives have so little time to spare that they can’t devote to such time consuming work and prefer to buy them from supermarkets. As a result, traditional recipes are gradually being forgotten and whatever spoon sweets are made and consumed are all too often no more than poor imitations of sweet memories.

Spoon sweets are sweet fruit preserves, served in a spoon as a gesture of hospitality in Greece and Cyprus. They can be made from almost any fruit, though sour and bitter fruits are especially prized. There are even spoon sweets made from vegetables.

Some of the fruits that are used include citrus (bitter oranges), grapes, mulberries, bergamot, apricots, cherries, oranges, sour cherries, lemons, pomegranates, quinces, strawberries, apples, dates, figs, prunes, and tangerines. Other varieties include vegetables or nuts such as  pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts and other nuts, and flower petals like roses or citrus blossoms. Many fruits or parts of fruits that are normally inedible, such as citrus peel and water melon rind, can be made into sweet, flavourful preserves, as can unripe nuts and vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, carrots etc. Some years back they used to add colour  to red spoon sweets, but nowadays they have been forbidden as dangerous to health and usually retain the original shape, colour, aroma and taste of the fruit.

When my mother, or before her my grandmother, used to make spoon sweets there wasn’t any picking lime and they would go to constructions and ask for some quick lime. Spoon sweets were made crunchier and not mashy by using quicklime. They would dissolve 1 cup of quicklime with about 2 litres of water and  would soak the fruit in this water for a few hours and then they washed the fruit very well and proceeded to make the sweet.

Pickling lime is not always easy to find and if you decide to use quicklime you must be extra cautious as it is very dangerous so please read the link before going ahead. I want to say here that it is better to use pickling lime if you can find some.

When the spoon sweet is ready, after cooling completely, store in sterilized jars.

Spoon sweets are usually offered to guests served by the teaspoon in a small china or crystal dish, with coffee or tea and cold water. I remember some pure silver vessels (sort of basket shaped which had special places for the silver spoons to stand round the basket) and inside were the sweets.

Whole fruit preserves can be found in most Greek and Cypriot homes. They are made by slowly boiling fruit in water and sugar over several hours or days, until the syrup sets. A small quantity of lemon juice is often added to preserve the fruit’s original colour, as the citric acid prevents oxidation. The method of preparation is essentially similar to that of marmalade, except that fruit pieces remain whole.

They can be used as ice cream toppings, in cakes, mixed with yogurt, on top of any cream dessert or in the Western way as a spread on toast for breakfast.

Relevant posts:

Glyko karpouzi (new recipe)

Glyko Nerantzi – Green Bitter Oranges (new recipe)

Glyko Nerantzi with Ginger – Green Bitter Oranges

Glyko Stafyli (Grapes)

Glyko Melitzanaki me Grenadini (Eggplant with Grenadine spoon sweet)

Glyko Kerassi (Cherry Spoon Sweet)

Glyko Karpouzi (Water Melon)

Glyko Nerantzi (Bitter oranges – Seville Oranges)

Glyko Bergamonto (Bergamot and other Citrus Peel)

Glyko Vyssino (Sour cherries)

Glyko Karydaki (green immature walnuts)

Glyko Kydoni me amygdala (Quince with almonds)

Glyko Kydoni me kastana (Quince with chestnuts)

Glyko Milo (Apples)

Glyko Stafyli (Grapes)

Glyko Syko (Figs)

Strawberries & Apricots

Glyko Melitzanaki (eggplants)

See also

How can we tell if the syrup is ready?

How to fix spoon sweets

How to sterilize jars

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Χωρίς σχόλια on Glyka tou koutaliou or Spoon Sweets

  1. [...] Greece and Cyprus we like preserving fruits and you can make what we call glyka tou koutaliou (spoon sweets) with anything you can imagine. Quince is one of my favourites but it was the first time I attempted [...]

  2. Ο/Η PG λέει:

    What a wonderful post! I think you have used the walnuts with their skins, sin’t it? Wow! Now I know a tiny bit more about Greek food. I always look forward to your posts :) The quince spoon sweets look wonderful too.

  3. Ο/Η Ivy
    Twitter:
    λέει:

    Actually, PG it’s without their skins. When they are still fresh and green, the skin is peeled and when cooked it turns black.

  4. [...] fruit preserves or “spoon sweets” as we call them in Greece is not as difficult as it looks. The basic procedure is almost the [...]

  5. [...] spoon sweet with syrup as I did in the picture below, or only with honey, with fresh fruit, or with any other kind of spoon sweets, use it to make other desserts, to marinate meat, in pasta dishes or use it to make tzatziki and in [...]

  6. [...] About Spoon sweets How can we tell if the syrup is ready? How to fix spoon sweets var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_localize = { Share: "Share", Save: "Save", Subscribe: "Subscribe", Email: "E-mail", Bookmark: "Bookmark", ShowAll: "Show all", ShowLess: "Show less", FindServices: "Find service(s)", FindAnyServiceToAddTo: "Instantly find any service to add to", PoweredBy: "Powered by", ShareViaEmail: "Share via e-mail", SubscribeViaEmail: "Subscribe via e-mail", BookmarkInYourBrowser: "Bookmark in your browser", BookmarkInstructions: "Press Ctrl+D or ⌘+D to bookmark this page", AddToYourFavorites: "Add to your favorites", SendFromWebOrProgram: "Send from any e-mail address or e-mail program", EmailProgram: "E-mail program" }; a2a_config.linkname="Glyko Vyssino (Sour Cherries)"; a2a_config.linkurl="http://kopiaste.org/2007/11/gl....."; [...]

  7. [...] About Spoon sweets How can we tell if the syrup is ready? How to fix spoon sweets var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_localize = { Share: "Share", Save: "Save", Subscribe: "Subscribe", Email: "E-mail", Bookmark: "Bookmark", ShowAll: "Show all", ShowLess: "Show less", FindServices: "Find service(s)", FindAnyServiceToAddTo: "Instantly find any service to add to", PoweredBy: "Powered by", ShareViaEmail: "Share via e-mail", SubscribeViaEmail: "Subscribe via e-mail", BookmarkInYourBrowser: "Bookmark in your browser", BookmarkInstructions: "Press Ctrl+D or ⌘+D to bookmark this page", AddToYourFavorites: "Add to your favorites", SendFromWebOrProgram: "Send from any e-mail address or e-mail program", EmailProgram: "E-mail program" }; a2a_config.linkname="Glyko Karydaki – Fresh Walnuts Preserved in Syrup"; a2a_config.linkurl="http://kopiaste.org/2007/11/gl....."; [...]

  8. [...] About Spoon sweets How can we tell if the syrup is ready? How to fix spoon sweets var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_localize = { Share: "Share", Save: "Save", Subscribe: "Subscribe", Email: "E-mail", Bookmark: "Bookmark", ShowAll: "Show all", ShowLess: "Show less", FindServices: "Find service(s)", FindAnyServiceToAddTo: "Instantly find any service to add to", PoweredBy: "Powered by", ShareViaEmail: "Share via e-mail", SubscribeViaEmail: "Subscribe via e-mail", BookmarkInYourBrowser: "Bookmark in your browser", BookmarkInstructions: "Press Ctrl+D or ⌘+D to bookmark this page", AddToYourFavorites: "Add to your favorites", SendFromWebOrProgram: "Send from any e-mail address or e-mail program", EmailProgram: "E-mail program" }; a2a_config.linkname="Glyko Kydoni kai Kastano (Quince and Chestnut spoon sweet)"; a2a_config.linkurl="http://kopiaste.org/2009/01/gl....."; [...]

  9. Ο/Η Lisa Efthymiou λέει:

    What's the best way to store glyka, in the fridge or cupboard?

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