The strawberry season is almost ending and now you can get them quite cheap. If you like having strawberries, year round (not that they’ll last so long) you can preserve them. Imagine eating your ice cream with strawberries and strawberry syrup in August, or making strawberry panna cotta in winter. The leftover syrup is a treat by itself. You can wet sponge cakes or use it to flavour creams. The possibilities are unlimited.
I have made lots of fruit preserves, called spoon sweets in Greek and you can find detailed instructions in the links provided below.
However, each fruit must be treated in different ways. Fruit which are bitter, like walnuts, citrus in general must soak in water for a lot of days until the bitterness is removed. Most fruit are then put in quick lime in order to maintain their crunchiness and some fruit which are very delicate, like strawberries and apricots do not need to boil for a long time as they will turn into jam.
Making spoon sweets is not an easy job but starting with easy preserves such as strawberries and apricots is a good start. The most difficult part of making spoon sweets is to achieve the right density for the syrup. If you achieve that your spoon sweets can be preserved for months, even years, if they are not eaten by then, stored in your cupboards. I still have cherry spoon sweet from last summer, chestnut spoon sweet and eggplant spoon sweet since last fall. Otherwise if you are not sure that your syrup is dense, you will have to refrigerate it for shorter periods.
It is best that the strawberries are firm and of the same size but if there are a few that are not so firm, add them as well and they will flavour the syrup and you can use them in desserts.
Strawberry Spoon Sweet
1 kilo Strawberries
750 grams sugar
1 shot of cherry brandy liqueur (or any other liqueur you like)
4 -5 tablespoons lemon juice
Wash the strawberries and carefully remove the stem. Put one layer in a sauce pan and cover with sugar. Add a second layer and add sugar. Wet them with the liqueur and leave them until the sugar melts. This will take about 5 – 6 hours.
When the sugar melts, bring to boil, lower heat and cook for 5 minutes. Do not mix with a spoon so that you do not spoil them but just toss the pan. Remove from the heat and carefully using a spoon or slotted spoon remove the strawberries into a bowl.
Return the syrup back and bring to a boil. Add lemon juice lower heat and simmer until the syrup thickens. This will take about half an hour. Set aside until the syrup is lukewarm. Return the strawberries back into the syrup, toss the saucepan to coat with the syrup and allow to cool completely.
Store in sterilized jars.
I also got some cheap apricots, however, it would be best if I made them into a jam as they were over ripe and did not hold well. However, they can still be used in many ways.
A few days later I made some more, just the same way but this time the apricots were more firm.
I used fragrant geranium leaves, which I love to flavour spoon sweets, but you can substitute that with 1 tsp vanilla essence or any other aroma you like.
If the apricots are firm and not too sweet, you can follow the above method as well and you can increase the sugar accordingly upto 500 grams.
Apricot Spoon Sweet
2 kilos apricots
1 kilo sugar
700 ml water
3 fragrant geranium leaves
Lemon rind of 1 lemon
4 -5 tablespoons lemon juice
Wash, halve and stone the apricots.
In a large sauce pan add the sugar, water and lemon peel and bring to boil. Simmer for five minutes. Add the apricots, the geranium leaves and wait until it comes to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside until it cools.
Remove the apricots with a slotted spoon and put the syrup back on the heat. Bring to boil and add the lemon juice. Lower heat and simmer until the syrup thickens.
Allow to cool and add the apricots back in the syrup. Allow to cool completely and store in sterilized jars.
See other similar recipes:
Glyko Kerassi (Cherry Spoon Sweet)
Glyko Karpouzi (Water Melon)
Glyko Nerantzi (Bitter oranges)
Glyko Bergamonto (Bergamot)
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)