About The Saturday Chef

Midwest, United States
I am NOT a professional chef. I am what I affectionately dub a Saturday Chef—a weekend warrior of the culinary variety, fortified by the education I have gleaned from two high school cooking classes, the Food Network and my own gastronomical experiments. While I’m not ashamed to spend all day making bagels by hand, and proudly call myself a foodie, I’m not a food snob. I enjoy an Extra Value Meal as much as the next girl. My culinary escapades are still relegated to the weekends, but my love for cooking is stronger than ever, galvanized by more successes than failures, and the beautiful fact that the more I cook, the more people there are to feed. So please stay tuned for fun recipes, inevitable disasters and hopefully, a lot of good food.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Preserves

If you’re a graduate of the Class of 2000 (give or take a few years), you probably grew up watching, loving and quoting “Friends.” While I never got The Rachel haircut, I was a huge fan of the show. I still record re-runs even though I know almost all the episodes by heart. Don’t judge me.

One of my favorite episodes is “The One With the Jam.” In this season 3 episode, Monica had just broken up with Richard and was flailing to make the break-up mean something. So she decided to start a business selling jars of jam (and eventually have a baby). Joey ate the jam right out of the jaw with a spoon or mounded on scones. It made for great comic relief, but always left me confused as my favorite Welch’s Grape Jelly never tasted good enough to eat from the jar.

And then one day, organic strawberries were on sale at my grocery store and I bought several pints. They were a little over-ripe, so I decided to make preserves. The recipe was easy enough. I quickly realized why Joey devoured them so readily. Homemade preserves taste like the idea of a strawberry—sweet and fresh and a little tart. It is nothing like the jar of Smuckers at the grocery store. It’s luscious and fruity and gooey. I instantly started putting it on or any anything I could think of—biscuits, plain yogurt, ice cream and my favorite, grilled cheese with turkey and provolone. Sounds weird, but it’s divine.

If you have a free hour, take advantage of the spring harvest and cook up some old-fashioned preserves while you watch your favorite episodes of “Friends.”

Fresh berries.

After a quick mash, it's on the way to juicy preserves.

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Preserves
Adapted from recipe at http://www.epicurious.com/

3 1-pint baskets fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered*

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Place strawberries in heavy large saucepan and mash coarsely. Cook strawberries over medium heat until beginning to thicken, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add 2 cups sugar and stir until dissolved. Increase heat to medium and boil gently until mixture thickens and mounds on spoon, stirring frequently, about 24 to 30 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. Cool.  Preserves will last for at least 10 days. Refrigerate in airtight container.

Makes about 3 cups. 

*NOTE: I like to quarter the strawberries because it makes smoother, juicier preserves, but it is not necessary.  You can hull them and mash them directly in the pot.


  1. Oh man! I'm a STRAWBERRY LOVER!!! I'm definitely going to use this recipe for my next get together.

  2. I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner. I hope you like it!

    Thanks so much!