I never quite understood the difference between jam, jelly, preserves, compote etc. Oh! I forgot to add marmalade to this mix. Growing up, all I knew was Jam and just like how noodles was always Maggi, jam almost always meant Kissan Mixed Fruit Jam. The world of jelly, preserves, marmalade were explored only in our imagination thanks to Enid Blyton but our reality was starkly different from these books that we read.
Strawberries were always associated with Wimbledon. To us who grew in the tropical lands, fruits meant mangoes, jack-fruits, banana, guava etc. Berries were not part of our cuisine and just like how tropical climate and fruits seem exotic to folks who grew up in cold climates, berries, winter and snow looked and sounded exotic to me. Now, come spring and summer, the world of berries beckon me. Moving to America introduced me to all these fruits that I didn’t know existed and I have come to adore each and every one of them for their uniqueness – be it the color, the taste or the shape. These little gems are devoured with passion and what little is left behind is used mainly in baking.
Of all the berries, the pink strawberries are my favorite while K loves the blue berries – we conform to social norms 🙂 Every visit to the local farmer’s market or produce shop is not complete without picking these pink ‘uns. Sometimes (make it most times), in my greed for fruits, I buy more than I can consume. I used to fret over the strawberries that go waste, till I chanced upon a way to use up over-ripe strawberries, for that matter any fruit. If you cannot eat them, preserve them (pun intended!).
1 cup of roughly chopped strawberries
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (you can use sugar instead)
In a sauce pan, bring this to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes. The fruit wil start to soften and loose shape; continue to cook. After about 10-12 minutes, add a tsp of lemon juice and let it simmer for another 4-5 minutes.
You can eat this with bread or muffin or as a topping for dessert / ice-cream as well. This will stay in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. If you want to make something in bulk quantity that stays fresh for a longer time, you need to cook this concoction till it reduces to a syrupy consistency and “can/jar” it. You can look at the detailed instruction listed here.
If you are still intrigued and want to find out the difference between jam, jelly, preserves, compote etc, hop over to Jam & Jelly Recipes.