My goal these past few months has been to try to make as much as I can possibly from scratch or non-processed. Hence the urban garden, homemade sugar scrub and home made soap.
The plan: homemade strawberry jam. From scratch.
Ok, so after talking to my mom, I guess it's really not that hard to make (mom: "I just use the recipe on the Certo box"). For a normal person, but we're talking about baking-cooking challenged me here. So an event had to be planned. (making strawberry jam in our MINISCULE kitchen!)
The original plan: pick strawberries at a U-Pick ourselves and make jam. Unfortunately this did not happen (ok, so I'm not really THAT disappointed since the last time I picked strawberries I was 4 years old and the scary lady yelled at me... what? Since when is EATING the strawberries you were picking a crime?).
New plan: buy local strawberries and make jam. Do you know how much sugar goes into strawberry jam??? A lot. I have been cutting out refined sugar for months now, no way was I going back to that.
La troisieme "plan": figure out a way to make strawberry jam without pectin. There IS a way! But the stuff needs to be ordered... and strawberries are quickly going out of season. Check out Crunchy Domestic Goddess's post on using a citrus based pectin!
FINAL PLAN: buy strawberries (local preferred, at this point organic or non, we just want the berries) and use fair trade organic sugar. At least this way we may be damaging our bodies but at least no beautiful forests or slave labour was sacrificed/used. Jen, being the awesome baker that she is was all for the jam making adventure!
So- after a final call to mom, who assured us that hulling and crushing layer-by-layer was just to make it easier and in fact not crucial to the recipe (and yes, we were using the Certo recipe) AND that washing the jars would be fine for sterilization (woot germs! this one's for you Mel!) we were good to go!
4 1/2 cups of hulled squashed berries (so much fun!) and SEVEN cups of sugar. Yes. SEVEN. So. The bag of organic fair trade sugar wasn't exactly seven cups. Who knew? Sigh. So my jam, with it's potentially small footprint on the planet ended with half-half death and eco-sugar.
Also, as per usual Lisa-baking style, a huge mess was had, with shouting and a strawberry jam caused battle wound on my arm (I guess boiling strawberry sauce actually burns quite a bit!) along with the ginormous mess on our tiny apartment stove. Baking wouldn't be "real" without some sort of disaster in the Lisa household. (above- said mess)
Finally though, the sweet yummy smell of homemade jam filled the apartment and the jars (all four and a half!) and now I am left with two amazing jars filled with yummy strawberry jam! Supposedly, according to mom, overnight while they cool a popping noise will scare the crap out of my sleeping self and the vaccuum seal will have occured.
Since we don't eat a lot of jam, I would say that the next step is to making strawberry-hole cookies, you know the ones with the thumb holes filled with jam! YUM. And next year, hopefully the green-ability of my jam will be increased with local, non-sprayed strawberries (you know that they cover the plants with plastic sheets and the workers need to wear haz-mat suits due to the pesticides they spray??? ack), less sugar and no pectin :)
Photos and article copyright of ecoyogini.blogspot.com.