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Strawberry Preserves



A jar of strawberry preserves.
Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Liberty Fennell

This recipe for strawberry preserves does not turn out run-of-the-mill store-bought strawberry jam. Here whole pieces of fruit float in a sweet, bright syrup that’s equally useful in the kitchen. To make it, you only need sugar, half a lemon, fresh strawberries, and sterile jars. Most of the prep time is hands-off: After you mix the sugar and fruit, it sits at room temperature for 12 or more hours, the fruit becoming sweeter and softer. Barely ripe strawberries contain more pectin, the soluble fiber that helps jams and jellies set, than their fully ripe counterparts, and wild berries typically have the best flavor and texture. Fresh lemon juice also lends a hand, improving gel production and brightening the strawberry flavor.

An excellent jumping-off point for first-time small-batch makers, you can adapt this easy strawberry preserves recipe to raspberries, blackberries, currants, or whatever berry you have on hand. These preserves will keep well in your fridge for at least a month. Spoon the berries and syrup over ice cream, yogurt, or oatmeal. Or split them up: Smash the candied berries onto buttered toast or scones or pair with peanut butter for the best iteration of that classic sandwich. Use the syrup to sweeten a cocktail—or add a few spoonfuls to a glass of seltzer for homemade strawberry soda.

This recipe was adapted for style from ‘The New Book of Middle Eastern Food’ by Claudia Roden. Buy the full book on Amazon.

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    20 minutes plus overnight rest

  • Yield

    Makes 3 quarts


2 lb. barely ripe strawberries, preferably wild, hulled and rinsed
2 lb. sugar
Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 Tbsp.)


  1. Step 1

    Layer 2 lb. barely ripe strawberries, hulled and rinsed, with 2 lb. sugar in a large bowl, and leave to macerate for 12 hours or overnight. The sugar will draw out the juices.

    Step 2

    Transfer the strawberries and their juices to a large pan. Add the juice of ½ lemon (about 2 Tbsp.) and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon or shaking the pan lightly, and skimming off the white froth as it rises to the surface. Simmer gently over low heat until you can pierce through a strawberry with a paring knife with no resistance, 5–10 minutes. (Time will depend on the ripeness of the fruit. Wild strawberries will require only 5 minutes, sometimes even less.)

    Step 3

    Transfer strawberries gently with a slotted spoon to clean glass jars. Let the syrup simmer for a little while longer, until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, or until it sets when tested on a cold plate. Pour over the strawberries and wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth. When cool, close the jars tightly.

    Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Liberty Fennell

    Editor's note: This recipe for strawberry preserves was first printed online in December 2011.

Cover of Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Easter Food, featuring a blue filigree bowl filled with Meyer lemons and sprigs of mint.
Reprinted with permission from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, copyright © 2000 by Claudia Roden, published by Knopf. Buy the full book on Amazon or Bookshop.
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