Friday, September 28, 2012

Easy Low-Sugar Freezer Jam

I've never been a fan of most jarred jams. They taste too sugary and gritty for me. I grew up on homemade jam from fresh raspberries and was never able to make the switch to the mass-produced stuff. Since moving away from home, I've settled for Smuckers Organic Raspberry Preserves, but it still isn't the same as the homemade stuff. 

I recently discovered a local berry farm that has raspberries. Hooray! And better yet, the raspberries are ripe around September. So after my blueberry and blackberry fix in July and August, I get to binge on raspberries. Score!

I took my daughter to the raspberry farm a few weeks ago and we picked a few pints. Most ended up in her stomach before we left the farm, but I did save enough to make a batch of freezer jam. Most jam recipes have TONS of sugar in them, often more sugar than berries. That seems just plain wrong to me. So here's Mom's low-sugar recipe, which uses considerably less sugar and still gels nicely. And in my opinion doesn't taste low-sugar at all. Best yet, it is super easy and only has four ingredients!


  • 3 cups crushed raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries, blackberries or marionberries
  • 1 box pectin (just the regular stuff, not the low-sugar recipe stuff)
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ envelopes unflavored gelatin


Measure berries into 3-quart pan. Sprinkle with pectin. Stir and let stand 30 minutes. 

 Stir in sugar.

Dissolve gelatin in ¼ cup warm water. (Not really quite sure the best way to measure the 1/2 packet of gelatin, so I just cut the packet in half and eye-balled it.)

Bring berry mixture to just under a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and stir.

 Pour into freezer containers and cool. Refrigerate or freeze. Makes 4 ½ cups.

This recipe can be doubled, tripled, or made with as many as 27 cups of berries at a time.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September Already?

I saw a school bus go down the street yesterday. How did that happen? Seems like the summers go by so fast around here.

There's been a lot going on around here. At the beginning of the summer, I put together a quite ambitious project list, and I'm happy to say that (with a LOT of help) we've knocked out most of it.
I've also decided that when I say that I can do something, it's ok for that to mean that I can ask or pay someone else to do it! Because at the end of the day, sometimes it just needs to get DONE!

Here are a few of the projects...

New Deck Lattice
My brother is a talented deck builder in Portland, Oregon, and when we bought our house a few years ago, he flew out to Wisconsin and built us a gorgeous deck. Fast forward a few years, and we now have both a toddler and a family of wild bunnies in the neighborhood who are very curious about what goes on under the deck. So we put up some lattice around the bottom to hopefully keep curious critters at bay. Not that I actually did any of the work. My father-in-law did it all. I supervised :)

And the finish on the deck will be restored to its former glory before the end of the summer. It is in desperate need of re-staining, but the deposit check has been mailed!

New Painted Dresser
A while back it seemed like we needed furniture in every room. Dressers, kids furniture, etc. Then we scored some deals on Craigslist and at the Elkhorn flea market. Now it seems like we have more furniture than we know what to do with and we're constantly moving it around from room to room.

As part of the Great Furniture Shuffle of 2012, I found this great antique dresser at the flea market. I loved the look of it, it was in decent shape, the drawers slid pretty well, and it was only $60! for the dresser and mirror.

I thought about trying to fix this one up myself, but alas, I am pregnant and tired. So I wisely decided to have Jorie at 63rd Avenue do it for me. (She's also the one who painted our awesome dining room furniture!) She used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Aubusson Blue and then hand painted the white based on a design I gave her. Then the whole thing has a coat of clear wax to seal it.

And here's how it turned out! I love it! The mirror is also blue now too, we just haven't gotten around to putting it back up yet. Although I may wall mount it instead of mounting it to the back of the dresser. We'll see.

Martha's Fabulous Pumpkin Cookies
The other day I found some pumpkin in the freezer from last fall that I needed to use up, so I made these cookies off the Martha Stewart web site. They are amazing. Drop everything and go make them now. Seriously, do it. You will not be disappointed.

I'm working on putting together a new project list for the fall - can you tell I'm nesting? So far, there's the boy's room to work on, some window treatments for the guest room and the kitchen, and a makeshift mud room for the garage. Oh yeah, and I'm sure rearranging more furniture. Why not? If it all gets done this fall, I will be so thrilled! Coming up next on the blogosphere, a preview of the boy's room so far, a quick and easy (and low sugar!) freezer jam recipe from Mom, and maybe a few simple projects I've been doing with E. Stay tuned!