Preserved Strawberries with Chiles

June 14, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

As much as I love a good, not-too-sweet berry jam, and as much as I hate tarting up such indispensable staples, the combination of berries and chiles makes so much sense. The chiles give the berries depth, and through contrast, have a way of amplifying their presence, much like a shadow emphasizes light. I used one New Mexico chile, which offered up a polite amount of heat. You might want to add a second one, or even branch out into the world of anchos and guajillos.

Amanda Hesser

Makes: about 1 to 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 pound sweet, ripe strawberries, hulled and halved (or quartered if larger than a walnut in its shell)
  • 1 New Mexico chile (or ancho, if you prefer), or more to taste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
In This Recipe


  1. Place the strawberries in a heavy, medium-size pot. Remove the stems and seeds from the chile (no soaking is required) and discard. Roughly chop the remaining dried chile flesh, and add it to the strawberries. Pour in the sugar.
  2. Set the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil -- as the fruit begins to juice, the sugar will melt. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer and cook for about 1 hour. You'll want to give it a stir every 10 minutes or so -- do so gently because you want the strawberries to stay intact and essentially candy. Taste it every now and then to make sure there's enough chile heat and flavor for you -- if not, add another!
  3. As the preserves cook, use a spoon to lift off any scum that rises to the surface. The preserve is ready when the strawberries are shrunken and lightly candied, and the syrup has thickened but is no t so thick that it's like jelly. (The best way to test it is to pour a little bit onto a plate and let it cool before checking the consistency.) Stir in the lemon juice and remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Serve on toast or scones with butter, over ice cream and on cakes or biscuits. Refrigerate any leftover preserves.

More Great Recipes:
Condiment/Spread|Fruit|Strawberry|Make Ahead|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Summer|Gluten-Free|Vegan

Reviews (11) Questions (0)

11 Reviews

Burnt O. March 17, 2012
Made my first batch of the season to serve with David Eyre's Pancakes at brunch tomorrow. Instead of lemon juice for the little shot of acidity, I added a tsp of balsamic vinegar. Gives it a lovely depth. Also made some cardamom pear compote so people can choose a topping.
Author Comment
Amanda H. March 17, 2012
Balsamic vinegar = great idea.
randomfoodie January 11, 2012
Didn't say how much water, or did I miss something in the text?
Author Comment
Amanda H. January 11, 2012
No need to add any water. The strawberries will release their juice as they cook, so you'll have plenty of liquid.
Burnt O. May 1, 2011
Got assigned to test the Mocha Sichuan Pepper Pots de Creme this weekend. Making this to go with it.....
Burnt O. May 8, 2011
Ah hells yeah - I made a brown butter pound cake and poured some of this over a slice. To. Die. For.
Kitchen B. July 19, 2010
I made this Amanda.....heavenly. Love it, love it, love it, down to the ingredients on a baking tin (which I copied )! Thanks
Kitchen B. July 16, 2010
And lime juice, forgot to say!
Kitchen B. July 16, 2010
Making this right now - with maple syrup instead of sugar, some vanilla extract and a bit of ancho...excited!
Lizthechef June 14, 2010
I'd like to make this and can it - wonder how the recipe would work doubled or tripled?
Author Comment
Amanda H. June 14, 2010
This should easily double or triple and I'd keep all the proportions the same -- adding more chilies to taste.