Sunday, September 02, 2007

BloomingtonGirl Gets Seedy

Sunday Greetings to my Loyal Ones. I am glad to report that I am indeed a tad happier today than I was yesterday, though not a bit thinner.

Yesterday at the wonderful Bloomington Farmer's Market, one of my favorite farmers had pints and pints of raspberries for sale. I saw them and immediately decided that I would make Raspberry Jam. I had in mind a recipe I'd seen in a great little canning book I just got but couldn't remember the specifics. I figured whatever I needed besides raspberries, I could just go out and get. I purchased my five pints of raspberries for a king's ransom and went home to make my jam.

Well, it turns out that was wrong about being able to just go out and get whatever else I might need. This particular recipe called for homemade pectin. The author wrote that raspberries were low enough in pectin to require added pectin to get the right consistency but that she didn't choose to use commercial pectin because commercial pectin requires more sugar than she wanted to use.

I looked up other raspberry jam recipes but they had much more added sugar than the one I had in mind, and I didn't want an overly sweet jam. So, I decided to go all the way and make my own pectin. It seemed so simple.

Because I know that my Loyal Readers will now be eager to make homemade pectin, I shall briefly describe the process.

First, you boil pounds and pounds of granny smith apples in some water.

Then, you put the boiled, squishy apples in cheesecloth sacks and let them hang over a pot all night so that the pectin stock drains out. (Your kitchen will now smell exactly like a fruit processing plant. For me, this was a good thing. It brought back old memories of working in the food industry.)

In the morning, you concentrate the pectin stock 2X by boiling it and then is ready to use.

Voila. Homemade pectin.

I made the jam today (as you will see in the picture above) using the homemade pectin. The jam tastes great, but it is, in a word, SEEDY. I suppose I could have made seedless jam but let's face it. Once you remove the seeds (by God knows what tedious method), you wouldn't have anything left to can.

And, of course, you are wondering...Did the homemade pectin provide superior results? Hard to say, because I don't have a control batch using commercial pectin.

In any event, I doubt I will go to the trouble (and expense) of making raspberry jam again, especially with homemade pectin. Peach preserves are easier and better.

But, like so many one time things, it was a good experience and made me feel as if I was channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder or someone like that.

In other news, there isn't much. I am continuing to enjoy Middlemarch, though I haven't had enough time to read lately. Tonight, though, I am getting into bed early with that wonderful book and am going to read 'till my heart's content, or until my eyes shut.

Tomorrow, I will put up some Pomegranate jam (I have been meaning to do that for weeks now) and perhaps some pickled peppers. Not a peck, though.


Anonymous said...

We missed you at the bitter-sweet "celebration" of the imminent closing of the IUOP today, but now I understand the wicked understatement of your better half when he said, slyly, that you were home "making jam."
I hereby place my presumptuous order for 1 of everything.... Maybe you should "sell" your various preserved delicacies for pledges to your newest non-profit.... Oh, and be sure to put me down for the "extra-seeds" raspberry jam.

The Hoosier Mama brownies were just the thing. Many thanks.

KinderhookChef said...

Homemade Pectin??? We have to talk.

BloomingtonGirl said...

Do you mean
a) Homemade Pectin??? We have to talk because I am dying to make homemade pectin, too!
b) Homemade Pectin?? We have to talk because you have really gone off the deep end now, BloomingtonGirl!

Steph said...

Wow - that is incredibly industrious of you! I'm just so impressed! I didn't even know a person could make homemade pectin!

KinderhookChef said...

I am a "scratch" kind of guy. Boxed crap usually does not see the light of my kitchen. I am impressed by your making homemade pectin. Actually, your cooking and baking in general impress me! I love the fact that you are not afraid to dive right in and try out something new, or take something you've already had and give it new life!! That's the mark of a good Chef!

Lynn said...

Tedious??? Oh my - and what was the homemade pectin? You are QUITE the woman, Bloomington girl!
Miss you!