Monday, June 1, 2015

Mixed Berry Jam; Meatless Monday




Eating healthy is very important to me. I try to feed my family healthy meals. Therefore, I avoid processed foods as much as I can. It is amazing how habits develop the way we inculcate it in our children at a very young age. We do not keep soda or chips at home. Snacks for my children is most of the time freshly cut fruits and / or cheese and crackers. The only processed snacks that my children eat are crackers. This does not mean that I do not let them have them at all. Yes, they can have chips and soda on occasion at a birthday party or such an event. Only when one knows what is bad can one appreciate the good.This past weekend we went on a road trip and my husband happened to bring a big pack of Lays potato chips. My 6-year old ate a little bit of it and didn't even ask for seconds! My son downright refused to eat it! I was very surprised. I had even packed cartons of 100% juice with me which neither of them drank the entire trip. All they asked for was  water! That is when I truly realized that habits are what we inculcate into our young ones!



Coming back to the mixed berry jam, the store bought jams have a large quantity of high fructose corn syrup in them and also preservatives! My husband and  children like to eat bread and jam once in a while. I came across this very berry cardamom jam recipe from my dear friend from the blogging world,Sonal. The recipe looked easy. I had never made jam in my life! I always thought of it as being a very tedious process for which I have neither the time nor the patience. But you see, I also know  that all of Sonal's recipes are wonderful and fool-proof. Therefore, I decided  to give it a try by making a small quantity of jam. I always have plenty of berries on hand. This time I had an excess of strawberries and blueberries. So, I decided to use blueberries instead of blackberries. Oh, when I tell you that the jam came out so wonderful.. That it left us licking our fingers and wanting more!! I just had made one small bottle. It was gone before I knew it! Do give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.


Servings: makes one 100 gms( 3.5 oz) bottle.


Ingredients:


Strawberries: 225 gms or 8 oz
Blueberries : 1 cup
Sugar: 2 tbsp, heaped
Vinegar: 1/2 tsp
Lemon zest: 1 tsp
Vanilla essence: 1/2 tsp
Salt: a pinch

Method:


Wash well and air dry the berries thoroughly. Add sugar to the berries, mix and keep it in the refrigerator for  atleast 2-3 hours. I left it overnight.


When you take it out of the fridge, you will notice that the berries have given out some liquid, yielding a nice sugary syrup.


Put this in a blender and blend it without adding any additional water.


Take this entire mixture in a thick bottomed vessel . Heat it on low flame. 

Add vinegar, salt, lemon zest and vanilla essence and mix well. 



Cook it on low flame until it thickens to the desired consistency. 


Turn off the flame and let it cool down completely before storing it in an airtight container.


Stays fresh in he refrigerator for upto 10-12 days.


Serve it with bread or flat bread!

Enjoy.

Cooking made easy:


To make sure that the jam can stay fresh for longer, make sure that all the pots, pans and spoons used are all completely completely dry. The berries must be patted dry completely using the kitchen towel or paper towel.

Tip for healthy living:


Avoid food items that contain high fructose corn syrup.  What is high fructose corn syrup?? 

High fructose corn syrup is made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose.HFCS is used worldwide as a sweetener as it is easier to handle than granulated sugar, and since the price of the raw material, corn, is more stable due to government subsidies and a wider worldwide base of production, than sugar cane. Use of HCFS peaked in the late 1990s.It is found in all processed food items that are available cheaply. HCFS has been linked with diseases like obesity and diabetes.
It is strongly recommended that people read the ingredients of anything that is store-purchased and look for food items that do not have HCFS or look for items that have sugar in it's natural form.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fructose_corn_syrup
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/high-fructose-corn-syrup/faq-20058201
https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/high-fructose-corn-syrup/
http://www.foodinsight.org/Content/3862/HFCS%20FACT%20SHEET%20-%20FINAL.pdf
http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/05/13/5-reasons-high-fructose-corn-syrup-will-kill-you/#openModal

Food for thought:


How do you know you're going to do something until you do it? J.D.Salinger