Strawberry Vanilla Honey Sauce
I know that many of you are probably thinking that it's way to hot to be slaving over the stove for hours when it's 739364 degrees outside. I would have to agree. Buttt, plleeassee, save those ruby red strawberries, sweet from the sun, in your refrigerator, because you don't want to miss this recipe. With no refined sugar, you can pour it over yogurt, ice cream, pretend it's a runnier jam and spread it on toast, eat it with a spoon.. the sky's the limit! My dear friend Kyra gave me a basic recipe several years ago, that I have been making ever since. Every year, I go by rough estimates and very vague directions that have been partially crossed out by me. So, I decided this year was the year that I need to actually record what I do. Because who wants to figure out the same recipe every year and hope it works out? Yeah, I don't. Especially when I am knee deep in berries and need to get the preserving done.
I love the idea that just honey is being used to take the edge of what can be sometimes tart berries, instead of refined, processed sugar. All my jams are pretty sugary, so this is a nice treat. I use this frequently as a sweetener in my daily, morning granola. I get a large bucket of creamed honey from the Common Ground Fair in Unity Maine every year, so I have plenty of honey to last me the year. Honey all around! I rather think the honey compliments the strawberries quite nicely. If you are not a huge honey lover, try to find a milder honey so that particular flavor isn't quite so bold.
For those canners and preservers out there, get picking those strawberries (or raid your local farmstand/farmers market), and make this sauce! I have been making this recipe for years and it's a favorite of the family's. Refined sugar and pectin free, it's a winner! Feel free to double the recipe or triple it if you want more to stock your pantry with.
Strawberry Vanilla Honey Sauce
Yield: about 4 half-pints
2 quarts strawberries, washed and hulled
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
1 vanilla bean
*Have ready a large pot of boiling water with a canning rack set in the pot. Sterilize 4 half-pint jars and have ready two-piece caps.
Place the strawberries in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan or pot fitted with a candy thermometer. Crush the strawberries with a potato masher. Place over medium-high heat and stir in the lemon juice and honey. Scrape the vanilla bean, stir the seeds into the strawberries, and throw the pod in too. Cook the strawberries, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 200ºF. If the strawberries start to stick to the bottom, adjust the heat as necessary.
Remove the vanilla bean pod from the pot and discard. Ladle the hot strawberry sauce into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust and finger tighten the two-piece tops. Place in a boiling water canner and process for 10 minutes. Remove from canner, and let cool for 24 hours before labeling and storing.
*You can also keep in the refrigerator up to several months in sealed jars.
Source: Adapted from Kyra Alex