Two VERY handy sites, and making Coconut Butter

The internet is LOADED with too much information, so much that I have a hard time sifting. Let me sift a little for you. And hopefully, you’re not completely sick of white stuff in jars since I keep posting them. But don’t worry, real food is coming. I’m just setting the stage for future greatness, giving you the tools if you will, to make wonderful things soon.

So first, have you ever found yourself cleaning out your cupboard or pantry and realized you had three cans of veggie broth, or that jar of roasted red peppers you knew was back there had been tucked away for longer than you’d thought – like two years? Did you know that the best by date isn’t always the definitive date? Yes, you probably do, but I still have friends for whom this is new information and so, I share.

Still Tasty

StillTasty.com not only tells you how much longer your canned goods are good for (sometimes two or three years!), but your fruits and vegetables, and well, everything other edible in your kitchen. There is so much information on this site, you could spend days and still probably learn something new, or at least novel. I will confess, there are many items lacking, BUT the catalog is continually increasing.

So, if after checking StillTasty you find you probably shouldn’t use that tempeh that ended up in the back corner of your fridge for six months, there is yet another site I frequent. It is where I go when I realize I am missing what I THINK is a vital ingredient.

The Cook's Thesaurus

Unfortunately, the URL is www.foodsubs.com rather than its name, but I love the URL since it’s easier to remember when I’m looking for a substitute ingredient. It’s not as easy to navigate as I would like, but the search bar is pretty helpful. One of the best parts is that some recommended substitutes have how-to directions!

I wanted to make Shira’s brownies at InPursuitofMore, but I did not have nor had I ever made coconut butter. So I foodsubbed it. This is what I found:

coconut butter  To make your own:  Toast grated coconut over low heat in a frying pan until lightly browned, then whirl it (while still hot) in a blender until it has the consistency of a smooth paste.

There were no pictures, but hey, those are pretty straight-forward directions and I’m not as dumb as I might look sometimes. So, I tossed some shredded, unsweetened, dried coconut and did just that. Heated it and popped it in the Vitamix and started it running. I was surprised by how it transformed from a pile of dried coconut into a creamy, SUPER-HOT, fatty quasi-liquid. It almost had the consistency of what happens when you mix cornstarch and water – a liquid-solid. It was also very much like butter (though very coconutty) and not anything I imagined should have worked.  As it cooled, it hardened much like coconut oil and works like butter in recipes. Cool, huh?

I have since repeated the procedure with more precise measurements to be more helpful. I know I would have appreciated a bit more info when I first tried it. I don’t think a regular blender could handle this, and I recommend a VitaMix because I found the tamper VERY useful. A BlendTec definitely has the power, it just requires more stopping and starting as you stir the contents.

Here are the details in a better form.

Homemade Coconut Butter
Adapted from Cook’s Thesaurus
Yield: 2 cups

4 c. shredded, unsweetened, dried coconut

Over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet, allow coconut to LIGHTLY toast, stirring or flipping frequently to keep from burning. (The goal is primarily to get it hot, but a bit of nuttiness from the toasting improves the flavor.) Quickly add the coconut to power blender, and turn it on and up. Using the tamper if you have one, push the coconut into the blades, adjusting blender speed in order to keep the coconut moving. You may need to stop and start, especially if you don’t have a tamper; pulsing it and shaking the jar will be helpful! This will take a few minutes and the contents will get HOT, as they reach maximum smoothness. The coconut will start moving itself as it begins to liquefy, at which point you’re close. Stop occasionally and check consistency – it should be quite smooth.

When it’s done, it’s done! Pour into a clean container and allow to cool at room temperature. If you’re really ambitious, pour into a muffin tin to get ½ cup portions because it’s pretty tough to break up after it cools.

 

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The Pantry Project – a small space DIY pantry for $270

Until last Saturday, I had food in the following places in my house:

Under my bed
Under my children’s beds
Behind books on the shelves
IN THE BASEMENT (the bulk of it)
In the coat closet
On some scary shelves in the most stupidly designed hallway (The DMZ – we demilitarized it for our children’s safety)

I told you I got inspiration from IKEAHackers.com. One night while holding my sleeping baby and looking at the most horrifying example of organization I received inspiration. Call it divine, call it genius, call it “about time”. But after six years of living here, I finally came up with a way to get my food and my kitchen together (don’t judge me by the contents).

PantrypantryPantry

But no more. For $270 and a half of a weekend’s work, I have a beautiful pantry that takes up no more space than my junk did.

A long-ish trip to IKEA one Saturday after measuring and researching products and sizes online. The following Friday – cleaning out the scary and stupid hallway between taking care of kids. Friday night – painting that hallway and building shelves. Saturday, installing shelves, adding doors, and moving food. Saturday afternoon – trip to the park and a walk around the neighborhood.

We used the Billy Bookcase because they are cheap, versatile, easy to put together, and they were a perfect fit. They also have the great benefit of being only 11″ deep. This is deep enough for binders, my food processor, cereal boxes, and almost two #10 cans. Our trash can required some modifying, and I don’t have a place yet for my dirty napkins, but everything else is accounted for.

(When looking at the pictures, remember this is the most horribly designed hallway with terrible lighting, but it totally fills this need.)

BEFORE:

Before Before Before

AFTER:

After After After

What we used and what it cost:

  • A bare and useless wall, painted white to disappear – Free (or the cost of paint)
  • Billy Shelves from IKEA with doors (sold separately)
    • Two 31 ½” x 78” bookcases= $50/each (2) = $100
    • One 15 5/8” x 78” bookcase = $40
    • Five doors = $25/each X 5 = $125
  • Hooks (if desired) = $4.99/4
  • Drywall anchors (we had some on hand, but maybe a couple bucks at the hardware store)
  • Tools we already had: A cordless drill, tape measure

Total Cost: $270 (+ tax)

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How We Did It:

  1. Make a plan. We measured our work area (84 1/2″ x 85″), and decided we needed two of the wide and one of the narrow bookcases, which made almost a perfect square of 78” x 78”.
  2. Get our stuff – yes, we braved IKEA with three children. On a Saturday. Brutal.
  3. We prepped the area. We had to clean it out, remove the baseboards and cold-air intake, and paint the area white.
  4. We built the shelving according to the instructions, but did not put the backer board on. This allowed us to mount it to the wall, creating a built-in pantry system that feels like it belongs, as well as securing it more firmly to the wall for safety’s sake.
  5. Positioned the bookcases where we wanted them (we had a light switch to work with), and then mounted the bookcases to the wall using the included brackets (two come with each shelving unit plus one per door).
    1. Make sure to use drywall anchors if NOT attaching to a stud.
  6. Attached the doors to the bookcases. We had to keep in mind shelf location relative to the hinges, since the shelves are easier to move than hinges. I trusted Matt’s judgment. (Remember, you will need to load heavy stuff on the bottom – these aren’t designed to hold 10 shelves full of cans of beans.)
  7. Adjusted and loaded our shelves. These shelves are super easy to move, but it got tricky when working in a small area, so I recommend you go either top-down or bottom-up, rather than meeting in the middle like I tried to do.
  8. We added some hooks for my kids’ helmets and bag of onions, taking over the less visible end of the pantry.
  9. Smiled at our awesome, affordable, space efficient new pantry full of all of the things we didn’t remember we’d shoved in the back of the basement.

My new favorite website

This has absolutely nothing to do with food. Directly anyway. Especially since I don’t buy food at IKEA. But it will have everything to do with my pantry situation in a few days.

See, the current reality of my life is that I choose not to afford a contractor to remodel my 1980 kitchen and update my storage options (plastic shelves and cardboard boxes) in a townhouse that has lost at least $20K in value since we bought it. We haven’t upgraded a lot because these were all temporary solutions … right? And so, like any suburban mom trying to pay off her law school and minivan, I shop at IKEA.

But until recently, I did so aimlessly and helplessly, like my deliriously tired children having tantrums about checker pieces. I wasn’t good at it and it wasn’t pretty. I am one of those “think inside the tidy box” types, which served me beautifully all through school, but this whole freestyling bit of motherhood and home ownership proves that skill to be less than ideal.

And then I found this: IKEA Hackers

It’s full of pure genius. Seriously, the people who do some of these are totally OUT OF THE BOX types. And I envy them. And one day, I will learn that skill. And until then, well, I will just COPY them. Thank you, IKEA Hackers.

Check out this one (LOVE). And this one is brilliant. Don’t get lost on there.

And the rest of you, you [hopefully] will be seeing the results of their recommendations in my KITCHEN soon.

Vegan Cold Process Soap Pictorial Method, Recipe and Giveaway

Did you know that most commercial soap on the market contains sodium tallowate? In case you don’t know, sodium tallowate is basically beef tallow, or fat that comes from cows, and a by-product of the meat industry. I find commercial soap pretty drying to my skin, especially in Utah, where if you forget to apply a heavy duty moisturizer, you can look like an alligator. So I’ve been making my own cold process soap for over a decade. Wanna join me?

The equipment you need

An accurate kitchen scale, 2 glass or stainless bowls (not pictured above), a wooden spoon, a stick blender, Soap Mold (a rectangular glass container is used here), 3 or 4 tupperware containers of various sizes for measuring lye, oils and water into (not pictured above) Plastic Wrap, Candy making thermometer (not pictured above), Long Chemical Resistant Gloves, dishwashing variety gloves will do fine in a pinch, cuff them to catch any soap that could run down your arm) and Safety Goggles.

Get ready: Put on your gloves, safety goggles, tie your hair back if it is long. Wear a long sleeve shirt, pants and closed toe shoes.

The safety equipment and long clothing may seem silly, but lye (or caustic soda) is a chemical that WILL burn your skin (it’s the primary ingredient in drain cleaners), and can cause blindness, so PLEASE USE CAUTION.

Ready? Lets make soap!

Now for the ingredients. I’m giving you a super simple recipe that will make a mild one pound batch of soap with really good lather. This recipe makes four 4 ounce bars. I typically make a 5 pound batch, but when you’re just getting started, it’s good to start out with a smaller batch for simplicity’s sake. PRETTY PLEASE use a kitchen scale, soap MUST be made by measuring by weight, not volume!

Somer’s Simple Soap

6 oz coconut oil (I used organic extra virgin)

10 oz olive oil (I use organic extra virgin, but light or pure is also fine for soap-making)

3 to 4 oz distilled water

2.23 oz. (or 62-63 grams) lye

2 t. organic or therapeutic grade essential oil (I use all kinds, but lavender and citrus oils are my faves)

Note:

I buy my lye at my local Ace Hardware Store, It is getting harder and harder to find, so if you have trouble, you can also source it here. Do not use Drano, Liquid Plumber or any other type of lye formulation that is not 100% pure lye.

Method:

Put a small round tupperware container on your kitchen scale, then turn it on, this will allow it to start at a zero weight without adding the weight of your container to the total weight.  Pour distilled water slowly into the container until you have 3 or 4 ounces of water in your container.

Add distilled water to glass or stainless bowl. Turn off your scale and put a different small tupperware container on the scale (not the same one you used the water for, you don’t want any lye touching water at this point). Turn it on and CAREFULLY weigh the lye. I like to measure the weight of the lye in grams for the greatest accuracy.

 Slowly Pour the lye into the water, this is (literally) best done outdoors with your free longsleeved arm covering your airways so you don’t inhale toxic fumes.

Stir quickly so the lye crystals don’t solidify at the bottom of the bowl

The temperature of the water at this point can be over 150 degrees (sometimes it even boils). So set the bowl cautiously aside with your gloved hands AND some pot holders.

Get your oils ready to measure

Using the same method as before, but with a clean container, Slowly add 6 ounces of the coconut oil to your tupperware (if it’s not all ready liquid, warm it up briefly for easier measuring).

DO NOT TURN OFF OR ZERO OUT THE SCALE THIS TIME, Immediately add the olive oil until it reaches a total weight of 16 ounces or 1 pound

Now heat the oil in the microwave in 15 second intervals until it reaches a temperature between 100-120 degrees farenheit. You can also heat the oils briefly on the stove-top (in a pot of course).

Next, check the temperature of the lye. If its anywhere between 100-120 degrees, you are good to go. If it’s still too hot, give it another minute or so to cool down. As long as the lye and oils are somewhere between 100-120 degrees they’re within an appropriate range for mixing and starting the trace process.

Put the oils into a glass or stainless bowl (I used my 4 C. glass measuring cup) and Carefully pour the lye into the oils.

Now stir briefly with your wooden spoon (or in my case, wooden spork thingy). Then use the stick blender to bring your soap to trace, trace is the state where the oil and lye water are thoroughly combined. It will thicken, not quite as thick as pudding, but like a stirred custard.

Soap is fully traced when it can support a drop (you will see the outline of the soap drop and it won’t disappear). This should take less than 5 minutes with your stick blender on high speed and this particular recipe.

At this point you can add your essential oils or leave the soap unscented.  Just pour in a teaspoon or two of essential oil per pound of soap you are making and give it another whiz with the stick blender til fully incorporated.

Now quickly line the mold you plan to use with plastic wrap (it makes removal easiest) and pour the prepared soap into the mold.

 I used a glass rectangular container, but even a shoe box or drawer organizer will work.

Soap can form a weird ash layer when curing sometimes so I make a little soap burrito and cover it all up with plastic wrap to prevent the ash layer from forming. It doesn’t make for the prettiest soap, but hey, I’m not selling it.

Put soap in oven or microwave (weird I know) and close the door. You want to protect it from drafts and give it a nice cozy place to incubate. It will get really warm and go through several phases, including a gel phase while incubating. This is NORMAL. Just leave it undisturbed for 24 hours.

Now your soap is ready to cut! Just pull the plastic wrap off it and go to it! The recipe I gave you should make 4 bars. The photos of cut soap are from a 5 pound batch I made a few weeks ago.

I like using the cute crinkle cutter Erika gave me for my birthday.

Let soap cure for a week or two before using. Longer cure times will result in a firmer longer lasting bar, which is great, if you can stand to wait! Oh, and if I get my coconut oil on sale (like I always do) this soap costs less than a dollar per bar to make, which is a slam dunk compared to the fancy bars at Whole Foods.

If you’d like to formulate your own soap recipes, I suggest you visit The Sage Website for their lye calculator, and their Soap Blog for more detailed instructions and ideas. The Sage is also an excellent and affordable place to purchase soap-making supplies including soap moldsessential oils and fixed oils. You can go as extravagant as you like or you can keep it simple which is more my style.

A word about essential oils in soap-making: vanilla will turn the soap brown, peppermint will burn your naughty bits if you use too much (I suggest 1/2 t. or less for a batch this size) and cinnamon essential oils will not only burn your skin, but will also cause your soap to seize solid in the bowl. So stick to the basics 😉 I only use essential oils as I find fragrance oils to be artificial and cloying (same goes for artificial coloring) I’ve tried natural colorants but in the end, I always go back to plain soaps, bonus that they are also the least irritating. (FYI, lavender buds and most other herbs turn brown and will look like dead flies in finished soap).

Want to win a bar of my homemade soap? I will give away a bar to 3 lucky winners! This is my final and perhaps my favorite July Giveaway!

Rules of Engagement:

1- You must be a follower of this blog, if you don’t know how to do that, there is a “Follow blog via email” button at the top column to the right. This contest is open to all followers, ALL AROUND THE WORLD. Can you feel the love? 😉

2- You must like this post (click on the title name of this post, then go to the bottom of the post just above comments and push the like button), 

3- You must tell me in the comments below what kind of soap you are currently using and what kind of condition it leaves your skin in (tell the truth)!

Winners to be announced Tuesday August 7th, 2012. Yes, you have all week to enter.

And the Winner’s of the Giveaway are:

Cult Fit

Mark Twain Music

The Vegan’s Husband

Winners were selected by using the random.org service. Please email your mailing addresses to me at goodcleanfoodblog@gmail.com and I will mail you your prizes!

Linked to I did it Tuesday

 

My Farm to My Fork: Herbs – they’re really not that scary (Herby Potato recipes!)

I love my herbs. I love the first tender spikes of chive that sneak up through the snow in the Spring, I love the masses of mint that take over our neighbors side-yard (which we use a few times a week for frosty mint (black/rasp/strawberry limeade), and the huge heads of dill that start tipping too early for my cucumbers that I started too late. This is all awesome, you say, because I have a huge garden, right? I do, but that garden is 2 1/2 miles from my house behind a church. It isn’t so very convenient for herb use unless one is really organized with perfectly planned meals. That, I am not.

But! I have a tiny patch of ground in the front yard of my two-bedroom townhouse (I like to throw that in there to feel like more of a martyr) and three planters with herbs in them. In my tiny space I have marjoram, thyme, sage, peppermint, pineapple mint, lavender, tarragon, coconut thyme, oregano, chives, unrelenting lemon balm, and rosemary – and I use them all the time. I have tried unsuccessfully to grow other edibles out there, but to no avail. It all dies. It’s like it knows I have another garden and gets jealous. But my herbs are content to grow and be and bring me great joy – except for my rosemary which must hate me (or Utah winters – more likely).

But what in the world do I do with my herbs? Everything. And you can too. Because they’re not that scary and unlike spices, they’re really, really hard to screw up using if you use your nose.

How do you know what to use? First, consider what you’re making or what veggies you have are or what you want! Does it hail from the Mediterranean? Asia? Middle East? South America? Think about what herbs you’d find used there. Are you in the mood for potatoes or a salad – or both (I make a killer herbed potato salad)? Can you throw a handful into a loaf of bread or stirred into your quinoa after cooking?

Second, what do you have? Does your neighbor have mint growing like crazy (it’s the only way it grows), or can you dig out a start from your friends thyme or oregano or chives? Most people I know are more than willing to share herbs. Use what you have and it can turn any vegetable into something you’ve never dreamed of.

Third, smell your herbs. They’re most pungent first thing in the morning or if you’re doing a big harvest just as the flowers bloom. If you want to mix herbs, crush a few of them together in your hand – do they smell good? Excellent – use them! If not, try another combo, or just use one. You will quickly learn that lavender and curry plant DO NOT go well together, but that thyme and chives and mint do!

Fourth, don’t be scared to try them!!! I’ve screwed up meals that had perfectly good recipes to follow, so I’m willing to screw some up that don’t too. Odds are good that you won’t be disappointed, but if you are, the loss is usually bearable.

Fifth, and very importantly, don’t add them too early! Spices need to be exposed to high heat to bring out their flavors (blooming them), but herbs just want to be warmed to release their very fragile oils.

If you don’t have herbs growing, now is a good time to find them cheap or to dig out a start from a neighbor’s plant for the perennials (oregano, thyme, dill, tarragon, lavender, rosemary – if it doesn’t die like mine, and mint).  If you don’t get them growing this year, they’ll grow like crazy next year. Dill, cilantro, and parsley still elude my growing skills (I haven’t tried that hard), but they can be pretty cheap (except for the dill) at the store.

If you’re not sure where to start, start with my favorite use of them, especially right now as we’re up to our eyeballs in potatoes. I love the smallest potatoes for this dish cooked whole, and a variety of colors makes it ever tastier. I try to use four or five varieties, last night using chives, basil, tarragon, thyme, and mint (which is the most surprising and amazing addition). With leftovers or if you want to make an extra big batch, my Herbed Potato Salad recipe follows.

New Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

(portions are per person – multiply per serving)

¼ – ½ pound baby new potatoes per person, scrubbed

2 T. chopped fresh herbs (mixed is the best way)

1 T olive oil, or butter, or butter substitute

Salt and fresh ground Pepper – to taste

Scrub your potatoes, cutting larger ones into smaller pieces to ensure uniform cooking. Boil or steam until fork tender. While cooking, stem your herbs and roughly chop, tossing into your serving bowl with the oil, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Drain your potatoes and toss with herb mixture. Serve!

(if using rosemary, chop it finer since it’s a bit tougher than others, and be careful with some of the stronger flavors, like sage)

Herbed Potato Salad

Unlike most potato salads that have a lot of other “things” in them, I keep this one simple so the herbs can show off.

1 4-person batch of New Potatoes with Herbs

or

2 lbs cooked new potatoes (yukons, reds, blues, whites – just not russets)

½ to 1 c. chopped herbs – mix it up

3-4 stalks celery, sliced thin

¼ to 1/3 c. chopped red onion, if you have it

Dressing:
¼ – ½ c. vegan mayonnaise

2-4 T non-dairy milk, I like almond milk best

1-2 T balsamic vinegar

1-2 T dijon or spicy brown mustard

1-2 T lemon juice

Salt and fresh ground Pepper (so much better fresh, especially in simple dishes like this)

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk them up. Use your blender if you like, I usually just toss it all in a bowl cause I’m lazy like that. Adjust seasonings to your liking – does it taste yummy and is it strong enough to flavor the potatoes without overpowering them?

Toss ALL the ingredients together, and chill until ready to eat – that means the salad AND you.

Out with the Old, in with the New

One of the first things I did after deciding to change my diet was to totally gut my kitchen. I mean gut it! I knew I wouldn’t be able to cope and stick to a healthy whole foods switch if I had unhealthy or unauthorized foods lurking around. I took literally over $100 worth of meat out of my freezer and gave them to a carnivorous friend.

I took all the dairy out of my fridge. I was a little embarrassed and surprised by how much crap had been lurking in my fridge and freezer….

Then I took all the processed foods and foods with meat or dairy out of my pantry. No more Kraft mac & cheese or Ramen noodles. Sorry kiddos! Gone also were the white flour, white sugar and white rice. Buh-Bye cookies, cake mixes, and all other refined crap! Phew. The food bank loved me that day!

I then went on a shopping extravaganza now if you were to look in my fridge, freezer and pantry, this is what you would find:

Freezer: Full to the brim with frozen fruits of every kind, frozen veggies of every kind, freezer jam, ground flax, yeast and veggie burgers (Dr. Praeger’s)

Fridge: Overflowing with eggplants, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, baby spinach, lettuces, corn, baby Portobello mushrooms, bok choy, napa cabbage, green onion, basil, cilantro, parsley, avocado, lemons, limes, oranges, mangoes, apples, pears, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, several varieties of tofu, several varieties of soy and nut milk, condiments that are free of high fructose corn syrup and general crap. I admit there is brown cow yogurt in there right now and some full fat mozzarella cheese sticks for the kids. I am still working on weaning them from dairy.

Pantry: Whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, vital wheat gluten, millet, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain unsweetened cereals, oats, whole wheat pasta in every shape and variety, unsweetened applesauce, dairy free dark chocolate chips, pure maple syrup, turbinado sugar, unsulphered molasses, agave syrup, dates, flax seeds, raw cashews, raw almonds, nutritional yeast, almond butter, tahini, natural peanut butter, every variety of dried and canned beans and every variety of tomato that comes in a can (diced, crushed, paste, etc) and Amy’s kitchen lentil, not chicken noodle  and minestrone vegan soups for sick days and emergencies.

These are actually the short lists, but you get the picture. I needed to plan to succeed!

Mmm, Strawberries … quick coring

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I’m blanking right now. What do you call it when you remove the stem on a strawberry? I’m sure it will come to me, but it hasn’t yet. We bought 14 pounds of strawberries this week … you know those sort of watery, stiff ones that drove in from California? I couldn’t help myself. It’s that whole gift horse, looking in the mouth thing. I am sure I’ll buy local delicious ones in the coming months, in fact, my own strawberry plants actually have flowers on them and if I can keep the snails off them we’ll be winners.
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What, you ask, does one do with 14 pounds of strawberries? Can I tell you? I am not as smart as Erika who is hulling a bunch and freezing them plain (because then you can do anything you want with them any time). I couldn’t help myself and pulled out my trusty Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and started experimenting.
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I made a double batch of the Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate Jen posted last week – half with fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice and half with “Real Lemon” (I’m sorry, but I had so much from last year’s Costco purchase and figured this would still be better than Countrytime in the summer). The Meyer lemon was definitely better, but the Real Lemon stuff was alright too.
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I also tried the Quick Strawberry-Lemon Marmalade … thumbs down. It tastes like strawberry jam with bitter lemon peel. I know, I KNOW! That’s what marmalade is, but it wasn’t lemony enough to justify the random bitter peel.
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I made cooked strawberry jam and freezer strawberry jam, both from the recipes on the packet of pectin. The cooked jam was the last thing I was making and I was a 1/2 cup shy of having enough, so I threw in a mango, and it still set up beautifully and now has lovely mango flecks in it. I still tastes mostly like sugar and strawberries, but now it’s prettier.
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And if you have NEVER made your own freezer jam, do it today. Or at least this weekend. You need pectin, lemon juice, sugar and strawberries – and not even very many of them. Oh, and plastic storage containers to store it in. Oh, and like 20 minutes. That’s it. Super fast.
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And finally, I made something called maple strawberry smooch. I haven’t actually tried it yet – just a small taste when it was wicked hot so I didn’t actually taste much, because it just barely filled the 4 pint jars I had and we have three other jams open right now. It looks like it is a nice strawberry sauce with a hint of maple, and we like maple, so it should be lovely over cake or ice cream, with yogurt, or in oatmeal.
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But now that I’ve talked about strawberry products, let’s get to the meat of HULLING strawberries. Growing up we risked life and limb with slightly dull paring knives as we tried to get the green and white out. I have friends that just hack the green part off, but leave the little core in there. But there is a better way. Can you trust me on this?
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You need a small spoon. A grapefruit spoon would be ideal. Watch this.
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Did you see it? Now try it. Hold your spoon like a paring knife, stick it in the top at an angle and sweep it around. It’s like you would with a paring knife, but it’s faster and there is very little fear of actually hurting yourself.