Make Berry Topping / Jam / Puree / Sauce at Home

I love berries in any form – cheesecake, smoothie, ice cream, or eating as is.  But there are seasons when they’re super expensive and there are days when I forget about them in the overstuffed refrigerator and end up throwing away.  So I started to freeze the berries rather than wasting them – by rinsing them well, draining water, placing on tray in freezer, and then storing in a Ziploc the next day.

Spusht | Freezing blueberries
Freezing blueberries

Spusht | Frozen strawberries and homemade strawberry jam or strawberry topping
Frozen strawberries and homemade strawberry jam or strawberry topping
Spusht | Strawberry Sauce or Puree without artificial preservatives or colors
Gorgeous Strawberry Sauce / Puree without artificial preservatives or colors
Spusht | Blueberry Topping or Blueberry Sauce
Blueberry Topping or Blueberry Sauce
Spusht | Raspberry Topping or Raspberry Sauce
Raspberry Topping or Raspberry Sauce

And then I also started making & storing jam / puree / sauce / topping – whatever you want to call.   Say you want to use the strawberry sauce on cheesecake, or strawberry puree for a smoothie, or spread strawberry jam (without pectin) on bread, or pour strawberry topping over ice cream – this is the simplest you can make  at home within 30 minutes!  Use and then freeze the excess.
How to make Strawberry Topping / Strawberry Jam / Strawberry Puree / Strawberry Sauce:
If you’re using 1 lb box of strawberries, fresh or frozen, have ¼ cup sugar on hand, 2-3 Tbsp of water, and a tsp of balsamic vinegar OR white vinegar OR lemon juice.

1. Cut the tops (hull) of strawberries, rinse well.  If using frozen, thaw an hour at room temperature.
2.  Chop strawberries in half or quarter (depending on how you like the chunks), throw in a wide pan on medium-low heat along with water, vinegar/lemon juice, and half the amount of sugar, stir around, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
3.  Keep checking & stirring in between.  Strawberries will get mushy, release water, thicken up.  Taste & adjust sugar.
4.  At this point, you can STOP to use it as a jam or ice cream topping with the strawberry chunks in between.
5.  Or you can let it cool down, put in blender and puree until very fine consistency.  Don’t use any additional water.

This strawberry jam / strawberry puree / strawberry sauce / strawberry topping keeps well for 2-3 days when refrigerated, and the excess can be frozen – measure & put in ice cube tray, freeze and store in a Ziploc to use later.

If you want to make Roasted Strawberries: Dice or slice up the strawberries, toss with some sugar and vinegar, spread on a baking tray and place in oven for 30 minutes at 180C/350F.  Strawberries will release juices, so choose a tray with a high edge so that the juices don't drip in your oven.  While you do get a little amount of a concentrated strawberry syrup out of it, as the water evaporates from the strawberries it makes their flavor more concentrated too.  What's the difference between strawberries cooked in a pan on stove vs. strawberries roasted in an oven?  Strawberry topping cooked in a pan is juicy, roasted strawberries are not.  Strawberry topping turns a bright red color, roasted strawberries a dark red.

Blunder Alert!
Cover the pan only if it is deep enough, otherwise the liquid will ooze out.  Since sweetness varies in berries, add only half the sugar at first then taste and add more rather than making it way too sweet.  Put only a tsp or two of the vinegar or lemon juice otherwise the puree will be weirdly sour to be eaten with anything.

Can you make blueberry topping or raspberry puree or berry compote the same way?  By all means.  You can even add few drops of vanilla extract or cinnamon (or flavorings of your choice) and/or little cornstarch+water mixture (for thicker texture) toward the end of cooking process and mix well.

Blueberry topping for cheesecake or pie? Blueberry puree for a smoothie? Blueberry jam (without pectin) to spread on bread? Blueberry sauce to blend with milk or yogurt to make Blueberry Milkshake or Blueberry Lassi?  Mixed berry compote (with blueberry + strawberry + raspberry) to pour over ice cream?  YES - all of these are so easy to make at home with the same concept!

Raspberry Topping.  If you haven't thought of a way to use up the raspberries before they begin to spoil, transform them into a Raspberry Sauce or Raspberry Topping and freeze to use later.
I don’t throw away any more berries – now I put them to good use.  How about you?
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  1. i love jams & i have to try the blueberries.. the pic is drool worthy :)

  2. I too freeze the berries when they come in sale.. My fav is blueberries..

    1. I wish I'd done it earlier too, Jyoti. Wasted a lot of precious berries! :D

  3. I too freeze the berries,my fav is always strawberries,btw thanks for trying the bhindi masala..

    1. Good choice; mine too ;)
      And you're welcome, it was tasty!

  4. love this. next time will add the vinegar.

    1. Thanks Archana. Just a small amount, remember :)

  5. I am a berry lover and feel very lucky to stay in this part of the world where i find berries almost all round the year :) This sounds delicious!

    1. That's great, Kankana. I've been trying to search for farms in Texas for berry-picking like they have in your California!

  6. That's an drool worthy sauce with strawberries....

  7. Is jam really this easy? I thought it involved a whole lot more than this simple great to know as I LOVE jam!

    1. It actually does, but this one's very basic and simplest kind of jam, I'd say. If you make it thicker: jam ... if a little runny: topping ... if blended: sauce!

  8. my favorite kinda jam is raspberry... i'll try this.. my favorite jam is Bonne Maman, but I wonder if homemade really tastes all that different from Bonne Maman. Looks super easy and delicious..

  9. so do you use 1 teaspoon EACH of the balsamic vinegar, white vinegar and lemon juice (all 3) or just one teaspoon of either of the vinegars and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice??

    1. Jamie, by the "/" slash I meant 1 tsp of either balsamic, or white vinegar, or lemon juice. Let me edit that part.
      Thanks for bringing it to my notice!


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