Friday, 30 October 2015

postcard & things.

    so, today i worked on making mushroom patches for the people who sent me more than one entry for my mushroom mailart call.  as well as more ecodyes, i cleaned up all the old leaves i had been storing in my fridge (some were really old and starting to mold already), i made some more postcard ones!  but the fabric i used for them i am fairly sure is a cotton/poly blend (according to a burn test) & then while those were steaming i worked on a mailart postcard out of scraps for someone?

change of times.

     so, i have decided to change the way i use this blog.  i have decided to use it for ..well.. i am not 100% certain what i am going to use it for, but i have decided that i want to have it available for a more open format.  i still want to have something to be able to document things that i have done, art projects, recipes, etc.. that i can go back to and look at, so i have created a new blog and will be using that for that sort of stuff from now on.  so, for continuation of what this blog was, i will go to here: dead things in jars.
     & from now on this blog will be used for ..something more stream of thought i suppose.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

plum jam (no pectin) - yum!

     plums!  so, last year my first attempt at jam, nectarine jam, was a huge success!  it was so yummy!  so, i am definitely going to be making more of that, but i had also wanted to try making plum jam, however by the time i had got around to it plums were out of season, so, no luck.  this year however i managed to do things in time!  yay!  since the nectarine jam worked so well and i had done all the foot work making my own recipe for that, i decided to use the same info for the plum, with one small adjustment... plums are a bit sweeter (though sometimes their skins can be quite sour!), so i thought i would cut the sugar down a little bit.
     my jam recipe is a ratio, for the nectarines i had it at 0.8c of sugar and for the plums i cut it down to 0.75c, so here it is:

1lb (454g) fruit : 0.75c sugar : 18mL lime juice

     now, i dont really remember where i got the 18mL from, it seems like an odd number, but whatever, just use it for the calculation and then round to the nearest 5mL.  To use the recipe, cut up the amount of fruit you have and weigh it out and then multiply it by the amounts of sugar and lime juice.  (i like using lime, just because.. lemon is just as good)

     i used black plums, i thought i bought red plums, but, nope, 14 of them which ended up being 3.5lbs.  so, to figure out the rest, here is the math [ 3.5 x 0.75 =  2.625c of sugar, 3.5 x 18 = 63mL of lime juice ]  2.625c sugar = 2 1/2 cups + 1/8 cup and 60mL is 1/4c lime juice . (this is a really helpful site:

     1.5 limes ended up being enough for the juice (+ a little extra)  be sure to save the peels!  they help with pectin content!  after cutting up all your fruit you put it in a bowl and pour on the sugar and the lime juice and stir it a bit, no need to mix it too much, it is maceration time!  time to let all the natural sugars come out and sweeten your jam and make things juicy!  & stick in those lime peels to help impart some extra pectin while you're at it.  cover the whole mess with a layer of wax paper (or plastic) and leave it in the fridge overnight.

     the next day (or few if you are busy) it should be nice and juicy and ready for jam!

    next you need to drain out the liquid.  (i got about 3 1/3 cups), put it in a pot & place it on the heat.

     you are going to need to bring it to a boil and cook the stuff until it gels.  i tested this batch a whole bunch of times, putting a little bit on a cold spoon or plate in the freezer to cool and seeing if it gels, but i realized after when i made a batch of different jam, that when the stuff starts to foam a bit is a pretty good indication that it is ready!  so, keep that in mind!
     after your liquid has gelled, and it doesnt have to be SUPER gelled, just kinda thick, and the liquid in the pot won't be really thick either, only if you do the gel test.  if you want an indication in the pot then it might be when you run your spoon along the bottom, it will start to leave a trace mark.  i tried to get a picture of this but it was hard.  i realized after that i had a feature on my camera that would have made it easier, but i was not thinking, ugh.  this is the best i could do.

    ANYWAY!  now it is time to add your fruit!

     YUM!~  you now need to bring it up to a boil again.  and cook it a bit longer.

   looks super delicious eh?  but i can't really put this on toast.

     time to start mashing!  you can mash it as much or as little as you want.  i like it chunky so i just mashed it till most of it was mashed but some of the pieces were still intact.  i felt it was pretty thick at this point, so time to jar it & boil this stuff up! 

     boiling times depend on altitude, here it is 10min for 250mL jars i guess, so that is what i did.  this amount of fruit made 5x 250mL jars, one was a little low though, but oh well!  i suppose the amount made might might be a bit different depending on how long you cook it (if you cook longer more liquid will evaporate) and how much you mash it (if you mash it more it will be more condensed and so you will have less). 
     the little bits i tasted while cleaning up were SUPER tasty!  so yummy!  & it is really pretty too!

    the ratio again is:
1lb (454g) fruit : 0.75c sugar : 18mL lime juice