13 September 2013

11 September 2013

Jam and Jelly Progress

I spent a lot of Saturday chopping strawberries and slicing peaches (but not so much that I didn't have time to spend with a friend and attend another friend's birthday party).  The fruit has been sitting in jars in the fridge for the last couple days, macerating in xylitol and vanilla (split beans with the strawberries, homemade extract with the peaches).

I also saved my peach peelings; I boiled them for about a half hour yesterday and then let them steep all night to prepare to make peach jelly.  This morning, I strained out the juice and then squeezed all the peelings in a cloth to get every bit of juice.  I have over a gallon (I think - it's in a big mixing bowl, not in a measuring cup or a pitcher).

After school today, I'll be working on my first few batches of jam.  I'm using small-batch recipes so that I don't feel overwhelmed my first time jam- and jelly-making.  I've never canned before, either, but after seeing some of the pictures on other blogs, I realized that it's not as completely complicated as I thought it would be and that I already have the big equipment.  I did invest in a six-utensil canning set, but that was only about $10.

On my radar:

  1. how to make vanilla bean paste
  2. how to make cola syrup with xylitol to mix with club soda for a low-cost, sugar-free soda
  3. learning about aromatherapy (I'm thinking about studying chemistry with my high schoolers when they start next month as a beginning point)
  4. perfecting my sugar-free (almost), grain-free chocolate chip cookie recipe (improved from Alton Brown's recipe and, really, almost there)
  5. experimenting more with almond flour, coconut flour, and whey powder as a substitute for wheat flour (trying to adjust Paula Deen's peach cobbler recipe for dessert tonight; also want to work on sandwich wraps, crépes, pancakes and waffles, and English muffins to go with all this jam!)