Saturday, July 12, 2008

weekly round-up & product review

Well, despite my recent posts about cats, turkeys and puffballs, life has been busy here at Keepsake Acres...

More raspberries were picked by Coop this week. Some frozen, some made into cobbler and some into jam. I also made my first trial batch of homemade castile soap and it seems to have come out right. I am letting it cure now. I have city mouse to thank for inspiring me because it was his homemade soap that impressed me. I added oatmeal and patchouli essential oil to it and am definitely anxious to try it.

Some of our Detroit Red beets were ready for pulling and were they ever tasty!

I love beets, no matter how you cook em’! Friday’s lunch was hot buttered beets! We finished them up as a cold side at dinner time. All gone! Did you know you can eat them raw, also? It never occurred to me until our Amish friend Fanny mentioned it. Not quite as tasty in my opinion, but an option.

Friday I ended the week by having canned another 10 half pints of raspberry jam. I now have 19 half pints of black raspberry jam put up. If you’re wondering what the two of us will do with all the jams I’ve made this summer, the plan is to use many of these jars as gifts later in the year at holiday time. Part of being frugal minded requires thinking and planning ahead! Plus, as is typical, more than one person has walked out of my kitchen already with a jar of jam in hand.

This jam and the batch prior were made with Pomona’s Universal Pectin.

I purchased this product at my local bulk/health food store. I will never go back to any other brand of pectin.

What I absolutely love about Pomona’s is that you can cut way back on the amount of sugar in a recipe and make just about any size recipe you like. Other pectin requires that you make jam or jelly in small batches and using a lot of sugar is essential to the pectin working correctly…trust me on that one. With Pomona’s you can adjust ingredients for the amount you want to make and you can adjust the amount of sugar used. Or you can use honey in place of sugar.

This last batch of jam I made yesterday morning has 12 cups of fruit and only 3 ½ cups of sugar. I use raw or organic sugar which a lot more costly than refined sugar so I have a significant savings in cost using Pomona brand. Not to mention that sometimes jam can be just too darn sweet for my taste. With the sweetness of the fruit, who needs so much added sugar? I am in love with this product and will never use Sure Jell or Ball brand again!

Pomona’s Universal Pectin goes further than other pectin, too. With brands like Ball or Sure Jell you use an entire package for one recipe of jam or jelly. With Pomona’s you get 2-4 normal batches. So, despite Pomona brand pectin being a little costlier on the “per box” basis it’s really a lot less costly. When I factor in the decrease in sugar necessary to make jam, the savings is huge! Btw, I am not being compensated for recommending this product (I wish), just telling it like it is.


  1. I'll have to try that. Hopefully I can find it in my area.

  2. Thanks for the info on the pectin. I will have to check my local Health Food Store for it.

    I made your Banana Jam yesterday. That stuff is totally awesome!!! I think I am going to make some more and give it as gifts this Christmas too!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I am working on a post on how to make it and I mention you and your recipe. Check my Blog soon!

  3. Hi Teresa. I just happened to find it in my local bulk food store. So glad I did!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and making your presence known!

    Carolyn - You are sooo welcome! I am so glad you loved the jam! Yay!

  4. That is so cool! I didn't even know that there was anything else out there, lol. I will definitely have to try that! I'll also be searching your posts for that banana jam someone else commented on. That sounds yummy!

    (I already tried to post this once before, but it didn't seem to go through on my end. Sorry if it's a duplicate.) I like your site!

  5. I'm going to look for that pectin--like you, I think most recipes call for way too much sugar.

    How do you peel your beets? Have you got a secret for that too? I love beets and have a nice lot of them growing, but I hate peeling them!

  6. ourhomesteadingquest - thanks for your comments. Just use the search box on my blog and it should come up. If not let me know!

    I made another batch of banana jam today!

    Granny Sue - I wash my beets, leave on a couple inches of their tops to prevent excess bleed, cook with skins on, then cold rinse. The peels nearly take themselves off. :)

  7. Your soap is going to be awesome!!! I didn't believe it when I started, but it really does get better the longer it cures.

    I was just thinking that I need to order some lye.

  8. I just stumbled upon your blog through your milk pasteurization post, and I must say, your site is lovely! I'm just starting with canning/preserving, and so far, haven't made any preserves with pectin, though I have a lot of ideas (peach + pepper to start!). Where do you typically find your preserve/jam recipes? cookbooks? internet? canning guides?

  9. city mouse - I cannot wait until my soap is ready o use!!

    Jen - Hello and welcome to my blog! Thank you so very much!
    Most of the recipes I use are tried and true ones I've used for years and came from family and friends, old cookbooks or are ones I make up. Otherwise I use the basic Ball Blue Book or Kerr canning book. Occasionally I will search the internet for preserving recipes.

    I never used to use pectin much but I do love the quickness of it at times.


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