Thursday, 9 February 2017

Jamming the Clean & Delicious!!!

Clean & Delicious Part 1- How to make and store Fresh Homemade Jam!

After the very successful Lets Loose Weight Together series, I am hoping you all are a few kgs lighter, and feeling wonderful about it, as I am. If you are reading me for the very first time, then do check this linkwhere I have mentioned 3 wonderful diets along with many tips and tricks to lose weight organically, while sailing through life as usual. Weight loss done the right way by following a structured meal plan assures of it not coming back anytime. But really, more than the weight, I want to emphasize about eating right and carrying on with that little preface, I present to you my next series of articles on Clean Eating, the delicious way!! In this series I want to touch base upon many simple processes that you and I together can follow to get a cleaner lifestyle which is healthy and delicious all the way. Today I want to talk about a basic breakfast staple which if made right can serve you a full year without any tension. And trust me, it is important to have a stock of emergency food that doesn’t compromise on nutrition, but is a bomb in flavour.

In the morning of a busy week day, what is your most important worry? If you are anything like me, then it must be the decision of what to feed my small family of 3 for breakfast and lunch that day. If you are in India, you would have the luxury of hiring a domestic help to tide you over with most of the chores, but really they too need directions from you. So the decision part stays put. Now imagine if you could easily feed a fussy toddler a nutrition packed breakfast before school without worrying much about a dining table battle. Isn’t it a luxury that we mothers dream the most about- a non-fussy weekday morning? Most of the children I have fed in my house, including my super fussy toddler, loves eating sweet. And a good dose of sugar, right in the morning not only paves the path for a better day ahead which is full of energy, but also satiates them enough to take the day with full vigour and humour. And as parents, our most important job is to ensure nutrition and energy for the little ones. So, I like to give my toddler a simple breakfast each day of homemade bread and homemade jam. He doesn’t complain, and neither do I as I know this is nutrient rich and something he would eat without me fussing over him.

Many people don’t realise that making jam in our homes is actually 10 times cheaper than buying it from outside. Plus the use of chemicals that is available in most of the cheaper or moderate level jams, is a cause of concern. Why stuff in chemicals in the little bodies we made from scratch in our womb? Have we not done enough labour (and quite literally so) to get this little life out in the world? So I think we deserve to enjoy these little human beings and their journey in life till the end of our lives. And we parents can make sure of it by tweaking a bit of our busy lifestyles to ensure nutrition for the little ones better. All it takes is to come back from work and wash the fruits thoroughly and let it drain completely. After dinner, and before bed time you could make jam by following these simple steps. If you are willing to travel that extra mile, why not make a kg of jam and can it so that it stays nice and fresh for all of the year. So mark-up moms, 2017 is going to jam!!

2 cups fruit of your choice- I used strawberry but really any fruit in season which is cheap and accessible to you would work.
Sugar maximum to a cup but it would really depend on how ripe and sweet are the fruits that you are using.
A generous pinch of salt
A tsp. of white distilled vinegar  
Optional is to add a flavouring spice of your choice. For example a pinch of cinnamon powder is great to make pineapple jam with, or some cardamom powder would be great to make jam with golden gooseberries that is available in abundance these days. But for strawberry, I just like it as is.

Wash the fruits thoroughly and let it drain completely on a paper towel. A great tip is to ensure that you have the fruit completely ripe before attempting to make the jam. That way you would spend less time stirring as the atmosphere would have evaporated most of the moisture out of the fruit. And the sugars would have doubled in the fruit, so you will end up adding less sugar than before. I have noticed waiting for a day after getting strawberries from the market, perfectly works out every single time.

Now add all your fruits in a mixer and grind it to a paste. Dump the mix in a pan with high sides, along with ½ a cup of sugar and salt; and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches the boiling point, reduce the flame and simmer the mix for 10 mins, stirring once in a while.

If you want to can the jam in glass jars like I have done here, then simply take clean glass jar and its lid and submerge it in a big pan with cold water. Bring that to a boil separately. 100 degrees of water ensures that all living organisms in the glass jar and its lids are killed. This way the jars will store very well for a year unopened, in a cupboard. You can double this recipe to make as many jars as you would like.

After 10 minutes of steady simmer, check the consistency of the jam. Submerge a wooden ladle in the jam and remove it. Let cool a few seconds and run your index finger through it. If a line stays like in the picture below, then the jam is done. If it merges back then it’s too liquid and you need to simmer it on low for another 10 minutes.

For strawberry jam, I hardly use any flavouring spice. But if you do than the ground spices or liquid flavourings could be added to the jam while it simmers.     

Just before letting it off the flame, add in the vinegar.

Remove the hot glass jar from water carefully and drain by shaking it gently. Add the hot jam in the sterilized hot jar and close the lid. Carefully lower the jars back in the hot water to boil for a couple of minutes again. This would seal the jars completely. Sturdy tongs would be a great tool to use for the caning process.

But if you are making a small batch, then don’t bother caning. Just make sure that you keep moisture away from the cooled jam and store it in the fridge, in an airtight container. Make sure to eat it fast as the fungus would come looking for it soon. The caning process prevents the fungal invasion for a year.

Homemade jam is a classic fast food that is available to you all year around. Living in India, where there are seasonal fruits of all kinds available through winter to summer; spring to autumn is really a wonderful luxury. Use it. Trust me there are many in the world who have not seen a real fruit in years. Kiss you lucky stars that you and I are not amongst them.


P.S. - a wonderful news to share!!! This article and many more in future would be available to you on Health Enabler. We joined hands together to promote healthy and wise living. Hope to see you following the same!! 

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