Baking - General, Ingredient Insights

Homemade Seedless Raspberry Jam

I can’t get over how much I like making jam and jelly now. It always seemed like such a daunting task, but now I can get a whole batch done in no time. Well, that’s not entirely true, it depends on the kind I’m making. What I really like about most of the jams and jellies I’ve been making is that they are totally from scratch, with no added pectin, and consequently way less sugar. Quince, grape, apple-quince-grape, and now raspberry.

I love the taste of raspberries, but I really don’t like the seeds. So when I decided to try this latest batch of jam with our stock of frozen berries, I wanted to go seedless. I thawed the berries and squished them through a sieve, making sure to use about a cup more berries than the recipe called for to compensate for the bulk of the seeds that would be missing. After a long time of squishing and straining I ended up with about two cups of seedless raspberry pulp.

Then I needed to make the pectin. The recipe used apples and lemon, cutting them all up, keeping the cores and peels, and boiling for about 20 minutes until the fruit was mushy. That also got squished through the sieve, and made four cups of apple sauce. The recipe only called for two, so the rest has been frozen to use for another batch.

The recipe I used called for five cups of sugar for the four cups of fruit pulp, as opposed to another recipe in the book for straight raspberry jam, which calls for four cups of raspberries and six and a half cups of sugar with a package of liquid pectin. You might wonder if the flavour of the raspberries in my batch was muted by the use of apple, but it really wasn’t. As it cooked I only smelled raspberries, and you can hardly taste apple at all in the jam. You have to keep in mind that although there were only two cups of raspberry pulp, it took about five cups of raspberries to make it.

I’m very happy with how it came out. Although it is a lot more work to make the jams and jellies without added pectin it is totally worth it, for a couple reasons. 1) It’s cheaper. The five apples I used basically replaced the equivalent of two packs of liquid pectin, and used less sugar, both of which saved some money. And 2) because there is less sugar used, it makes the natural flavour of the fruit stronger, and makes the jam that much more delicious!

Ingredient Insights

To Butter or not to Butter?

I thought that since I’m now over a year old I would branch out a little bit and do more of an opinion piece this week than a practical one; and it has more to do with eating a baked good than producing one.

I remember back in highschool getting together with some friends and having biscuits with strawberry jam, and one friend was horrified at the thought of spreading jam on a biscuit without putting butter on it first. I hadn’t really thought much about it, sometimes I put butter on my toast before the jam, and sometimes I didn’t. It wasn’t a necessity for me. But after that I started to wonder if I was crazy for not always putting butter on first.

butter (4)I searched it online a few months ago, just out of curiosity, and discovered that some people had pretty strong opinions on this subject, it was quite surprising. Now, I’ve never been one to jump into a conflict, I tend to take a pretty neutral stance on things; but since reading some of these things, and having some time to taste and think it over I have decided to weigh in on the issue.

I think butter acts as a lubricant for dry toast, making it easier to eat and easier to enjoy whatever spread adorns it. I think if you use salted butter, it enhances the flavours of whatever spread is used. I don’t think butter is mandatory, especially if you are trying to watch what you eat; leaving it off is an easy way to cut down on a small bit of fat consumption. I do not think butter should be used if you are using peanut butter as your main spread. I do think that if you have honey on your toast, or cinnamon sugar, butter is a must, there’s just something about those combinations. And my final thought is that we live in a society where people should be free to use or not use butter on their toast and biscuits without fear of being judged either way. So you can use butter or not, and I will not think any less of you; even if you disagree with me and think butter with peanut butter is a good thing.

I may judge you, however, if you use shortening. That’s just gross.