The Sustainable Kitchen - Using Up Fruit and Berries That Are Too Good to Throw Out

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

Got fruit or berries too mushy to eat but too good to throw out?

In less time than you think (and with lots less work) you can magically transform them into yummy home made preserves - and no canning is required.

Upscale caterers call these "Fresh Preserves" and they charge premium prices for this easy way to recycle fruit and berries just past their prime.

There is no real recipe... you can mix and match your preserves according to what you have on hand.

Fresh Preserves

The ingredient amounts are approximate.  You can vary the proportions to suit your taste. 

Yummy on your breakfast toast but don't stop there... use these preserves to top ice cream, cake, or yogurt.  Fill tart shells, biscuits or lady fingers with preserves and dollop with whipped cream.   You'll think of 1000 uses!!!

Makes about 1 cup preserves
Pan size not important but a 12 inch, non reactive skillet works best.

3 cups very ripe fruit, berries or a combination
1/3 sugar (see Karla's Tip #1)
1 teaspoon butter (see Karla's Tip #2)

Put the fruit into a large skillet.  Coarsely mash (use a hand held potato masher or fork).  Sprinkle sugar over top.  Let sit at room temperature 10 minutes to let the juices run.  

After 10 minutes, cover skillet (No cover?  Use foil) and bring to a boil on medium high.

Stir to prevent scorching

Remove cover. Stir in the butter. Continue cooking the mixture, stirring constantly.  The mixture should gently bubble as it cooks.  Adjust the heat as necessary.  If the heat is too high, the mixture will scorch.

Continue cooking until mixture has reduced by half - about 5 minutes or so.  

Serve hot or cool.   
Store up to 1 week in the fridge.  
Finished preserves

Karla's Tips

1.   You can add sugar to taste.  The amount of sugar is not important but the color of the finished preserves with a low sugar content will not be as bright.  When adding sugar to taste, bear in mind that the amount of sweetness will be concentrated in the finished preserves.   We do not recommend artificial sweeteners.

2.  The tiny amount of butter keeps down the foam so you don't have to skim the preserves.  You can leave it out but it makes such a wonderful addition.  Skimming is tedious and you never get all the foam out anyway.
Margarine is not recommended.

3.  This recipe is not intended for canning but it does freeze extremely well so you can stock your freezer with summer's bounty to enjoy all winter long.

4.  Do not make more than about 3 cups fruit at one time in one skillet.  More fruit will require longer cooking that takes away from the fresh taste of the fruit.  Preserves cooked too long take on a overly sweet... just sugar... taste.

5.  Works well with all kinds of fruit and peaches, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or a combination.  Peel the fruit, if necessary.  Fruit should be very ripe...almost over ripe.  Use fruit that is past it's prime for eating but too good to throw out.

6.  A non reactive skillet is one that does not combine with the food that's being prepared.  We use a cast aluminum skillet lined with stainless steel.  Do not use a cast iron skillet or your preserves will taste metallic.


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