Saturday, March 28, 2009

Inexpensive Fun

Homemade strawberry Jam, Apple Preserves and
leftover Hassaku Marmalade

I don't know about other areas in Japan, but around here the price of strawberries is relatively low now. Or maybe the price itself is not very different but I see so many packs of strawberries on a wagon that says "for fruit juice." Yeah, those are overripe ones, almost rotten. Maybe berries are plentiful this year? Even my blueberry plant seems to have more flowers this spring. And at my favorite supermarket, they seem to have apples on sale more often this month than last month. (But why now? It's not apple season, right??)

Well, I don't mind whatever the reason is. I just appreciate the fact that they are less expensive now, and have been making jam and preserves diligently these days. The above photo is showing only half of what I have made. I even make labels myself. It's so much fun and it doesn't cost much because I downloaded a free software and bought cheap sticker paper at Daiso 100 yen shop.

Honestly, I think I'm better at making jar labels than making jam/preserves. To decide the amount of sugar to use, I usually start with "30% of the weight of the fruit" and adjust it according to how sweet the fruit itself is. And I add lemon juice little by little until I feel it was enough. But for some reason, the jam that tasted perfect when hot often does not taste very good when I use it after a few weeks... My tongue is not very trustworthy, I guess.

BTW, I switched from white sugar to beet sugar after the Meniere's syndrome diagnosis. Although sugar was not what was causing the problem, I was told that I needed to improve blood circulation, so I felt like using healthier sugar (polysaccharide). But beet sugar really makes jam brown, doesn't it? I wonder if I could find beet granulated sugar somewhere ...

Anyway, you can expect a homemade apple pie post to come soon.



K and S said...

these preserves sound delicious! you should also eat more rakkyo for better blood circulation (hope you like rakkyo).

obachan said...

So it improves blood circulation? I didn't know that. (I've heard that onions do, but didn't know about rakkyo.) My mom pickles some every year, and I'm gonna ask her to double or triple the amount from this summer on. GOOD! Thanks for the info.

C said...

I found that things taste sweeter when they are cold. I tend to add enough sugar to barely taste sweet. Then when it's cooled, it tastes perfect! But then I am not a fan of overly sweet stuff!

K and S said...

I heard rakkyo, I didn't know about onions itself.

obachan said...

I'm not a fan of overly sweet stuff, either, so your advice should work for me. Thanks!

K & S
I googled and found out that rakkyo, onions and green onions (negi) are good for blood circulation, and rakkyo is the best. I'm glad. My younger sister and her kids don't like rakkyo (especially its smell) very much, so when I was with them in summer at my parents' house, I had to hesitate to eat it. But with this perfect rationale, I'm not going to hesitate this summer. ;)