I really like the fruit products made by American Spoon, an “Up North” (as we call it in Michigan) purveyor of fine foods made of local fruits. Last year, I made my own version of their Cherry Berry Spoon Fruit, which is a fruit juice sweetened spread – no sugar added. I was eagerly awaiting strawberry season for this year, so I could try out the same technique with strawberries. It was an all out success!
Strawberry season arrived early this week - we had a really mild winter and warm spring here in Michigan. I picked up the first of the season berries this morning at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market for $4.50 a quart. A quart of berries is about 1.5 lbs, and a pound of berries yields about 3 cups halved and hulled berries. The beauty of this recipe is that it uses no added sugar - it's naturally sweetened with fruit juice.
Strawberry Spoon Fruit
makes about 6 half pint jars
12 cups halved and hulled strawberries (purchase 4 qts)
10 tart apples (like Granny Smith) peeled, cored and chopped small
2 cans (12 oz) frozen apple juice concentrate
Heat all ingredients in a preserving pot (I like to use my cast iron enamel dutch oven) stirring often until the fruit has thickened considerably. It will foam up during the process, so make sure to use a deep enough pot.
The foam will dissipate eventually and the mixture will thicken until it mounds up on a spoon. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. The result is a fruit preserve perfect for those that are trying to limit their sugar intake. It's a bit tangier than strawberry jam, and a little looser set than jam or jelly, but I actually prefer it to jam. The strawberry taste is much more pronounced than in jam. Enjoy!