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Strawberry Preserves w/ Balsamic Vinegar & Black Pepper

recipe from Saving the Season

Ingredients
– 2½ lbs strawberries ($5 @ Santa Monica 3rd St FM)
– 2 cups sugar
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– 1/8 tsp black pepper
– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Learnings
PRICING/QUALITY. I don’t understand how one vendor can have 3 lbs of strawberries for $5 then the one across the aisle will have the same for $14. There are no samples or signs touting this one’s superiority so what gives? I’ve been burned by strawberries 3 times now. The first 2 came from the Playa Vista FM in the form of soft, moldy berries hidden at the bottom of the baskets. The third time at the Santa Monica 3rd St FM, I feel like I examined every single berry in my batch but still found a few brown softies on the bottom once I arrived home. Those experiences plus this investigative reporting by NBC LA has made me so suspicious of the vendors that now I carefully examine the price and quality of every piece of produce before purchasing. It’s tiring! But I suppose that’s because I’m lazily accustomed to the cheaper unblemished testtube food found in supermarkets.

SWEETNESS. I enjoyed this recipe loads more than the Strawberry & Lemon Preserves. The balsamic and pepper really tempered the sweetness of the sugar and lemon juice and gave the whole shebang so much more depth.

Usings
My fave is peanut butter toast with a smear of preserves. On hot biscuits ain’t bad either.

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Strawberry Lemon Preserves

recipe from Canning for a New Generation, pg 32

Ingredients
– 3 lbs strawberries ($5 for 3 lbs @ Playa Vista FM)
– 1½ cups sugar
– 2 lemons

Learnings
POPPING MY STRAWBERRY. This being my first canning endeavor, everything was a learning experience! But the main thing that stood out is that I have to try to stay focused, organized, and prepared—especially in my “cozy” kitchen. These 3 things do not come naturally to me in the kitchen.

PLAYA VISTA FARMERS MARKET. I love the vibe of this place but my batch of strawberries had some moldies at the bottom of the pile. Plus the selection is on the meek side.

SWEETNESS. The lemon was almost overpowering. But maybe it’s just that I’m not accustomed to preserves made from fresh produce?

Usings
A smear of this onto peanut butter toast became my morning staple for a while.