Monday, July 30, 2012

Hubble, bubble, toil and quite a bit of trouble!

I've been having quite a few kitchen 'positive learning experiences' of late, due to my pectin problem!

After picking a lovely bowl of red clover with the intention of turning it into jelly, a slight 'hiccup' in the art of culinary alchemy meant that I ended up instead with three jars of very pretty pink syrup.

 I used this recipe but omitted the box of pectin, as I couldn't find any, opting instead for organic jamming sugar, which according the the label contained pectin. I should of known better! just like those two-in-one shampoo/conditioner affairs this sugar/pectin deal was a total waste of time!
As I sat dipping my finger in this lovely pink liquid, hopping that suddenly it would cool into the desired thickness, I had an inspiration.  I'd try using it in place of other ingredients, i.e honey, maple syrup etc.  Guess what? it worked like a gem -  in these granola bars (in place of honey),

in yoghurt, over ice-cream, and in a strictly adults only pleasure - Kir, a french apéritif of chilled white wine and fruit syrup.  Each region has it's own version, here in Chamonix it's traditionally with black current syrup, but my little concoction maybe just the thing to change all that!!!  

Take two! rhubarb jam with homemade pectin and honey in stead of sugar! After making the pectin I did the 'test', dropping a spoonful of it into methylated spirits to see if it coagulates, it did. Bravo, proceed with regular jam making method.  And this is where, yet again, things started to go horribly wrong and I ended up with a few jars of liquid green gloopyness.   As the saying goes, 'there's no point crying over spilt milk - or runny jam'. Chin-up old girl everyone loves a rhubarb pie

and blueberry and rhubarb sonker (adaptation of a Taproot recipe)

On a more positive note I did have success with my Calendula Salve and have been slathering it on all kinds of itches, scratches and bites!  This works out so cheap compared the the organic shop bought stuff!
basic ingredients - dried calendula petals, olive oil and bees wax (not in photo)

I've also been dabbling in other home made cosmetics - coconut oil deodorant, rosemary hair rinse, peppermint foot balm, musk rose face cream and have been using home made laundry powder for about 2 weeks now and will never go back to 'shop stuff' again.

basket of homemade cosmetic goodies for my sister-in-law's birthday
Our garden red and black currents are ripe for picking just  now so fingers crossed for my next jam making endeavor!  No fancy stuff this time i'll just do exactly what I did last year, that seemed to work just fine.


  1. Isn't red clover beautiful and so many uses for it! I had never heard of it in jam. I never use pectin in my jam. It doesn't have a jelly consistency but it is still thick enough to spread on bread. Love your basket of homemade cosmetic goodies! What a wonderful gift!

  2. I've made a calendula, olive oil, and beeswax salve before and the kids and I loved it. I added some essential oils too. Can't remember what anymore.

    Here's to jam & jelly-making success!