Learn: Jam Making 101

joeyinthekitchen

We’re learning how to make the best homemade jam straight from a professional jam maker! Joey produces a line of artisanal jams, GSH Conserves, and brought us into his own family kitchen to share one of his most popular flavours  - Mango Lime. It’s so good that it took great restraint not to lick the bowl - but in my own kitchen, I make no promises!

Making your own jam at home is an experience that I hope you give yourself.  Joey’s passion for it is absolutely contagious  - and I think that it’s incredible he’s sharing his recipe and process with us!

Jam-Recipe2

Mango Lime Jam Recipe

ingredients:
  • 3 cups of mango, cubed and then blended.
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • zest of 2-3 limes (depends on your taste for lime)
  • all the juice from the 3 limes (should make 1/3 cup)
  • 3 jars with lids, 300ml size.
directions:
  1. Wash and dry the jars and lids thoroughly , before placing them into an oven to sterilise at 150 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  2. Using a large non-reactive pot, heat up the blended mango with the sugar. Ensure that all the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in the lime juice and lime zest, and then turn up the heat
  5. Have the mixture cook at a full rolling boil for 1 minute.
  6. Take the pot off the heat.
  7. Plate test to see if jam is set: use a clean teaspoon to drop a few scoops onto a plate that has been chilled in the freezer. Pop the plate back into the freezer for 2 minutes. This should allow the jam to cool down sufficiently. If the jams is set , it will flow very slowly down a plate that is held vertically. It will also form a ‘skin’ if you use a spatula to skim the surface of the jam.
  8. Scoop the hot jam into the sterilised jars, tightly screw on the lids.
  9. Water bath canning method:  Place the filled jars into another large pot filled with water. Ensure there is at least an inch of water above the top of the jars. Full rolling boil for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the jars and allow to cool at room temperature.
  11. You are now ready to immediately enjoy or store your own home made jam!

Unopened they’re good for 1 year. Opened jars should be kept in the fridge and consumed within 1 month.

Jam Making 101: How to Make Jam From Scratch

My kids have recently become obsessed with jam and butter on bread. Have you ever sent your kid to school with a jam and butter sandwich, it’s a little embarrassing. But it’s all they want! So me, I’m at the supermarket reading every jam label, trying to find the most natural option. Of course these brands can cost a lot more, but when you see what the conventional stuff is filled with you make choices. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that there is a third option - I can make it myself. I don’t need the fillers, flavours, syrups or nonsense. I don’t need to spend 15 minutes searching the jam section for the one with at least a bit more fruit than sugar! It’s not about never buying these things again – I’ll most definitely buy Joey’s jams -  but it feels good to have options and to have that control.

month-of-jam

Making jam is a 3-step process. Prep. Cook. Bottle. The entire process takes 1 hour and you’ll end up with  jam for months! This method of preserving food has been part of the way we eat since the beginning. It’s how we preserve the season to enjoy throughout the year.

Thanks to my friend Joey, I’m here to tell you that you that making jam is beyond easy! You don’t need any fancy equipment, you don’t need a complex recipe – fresh produce, patience and presence is all that’s required!

#1 PREP INGREDIENTS:

Pureed mangoes, freshly squeezed lime juice and sugar. Simple. The lime zest, we leave right to the end so that it keeps its bright color.  In this recipe the lime juice adds flavour but also reacts with the sugar to help the jam set.

ingredients

#2 COOK

Let it cook for about 20 minutes, boiling away the moisture and reducing it to fruit and sugar. You’ll see your jam transform from a puree, to a gel like consistency. It’s a bit of science a bit of magic. Joey warns us (and we should listen up!) to watch over the jam as it cooks. This is where the practice of presence comes in – if you get distracted and leave the pot bubbling away, you can burn the sugar! Give it a good stir and watch over it lovingly.

cooking

When jam cools, is when it becomes firm. So, to test the readiness while it’s still hot – you can preform the Frozen Plate Test. It’s very technical stuff, here’s what you do: Before you start cooking, place a plate in the freezer. When your jam start to form into a gel, drop a bit onto the frozen plate, it will cool very quickly and give you an indication of how firm it’s going to be.

frozenplatetest

#3 BOTTLE

If you can’t find dedicated canning jars, you can use basic glass jars that have a lined cap. Make sure to sanitise your jars first, it’s easily done in a hot oven for about 15 minutes. Then you’re ready to fill them up with delicious jam. Don’t touch the jars, they’re hot!

bottling

The jam inside expands during the canning process, so important to leave a little room between the jam and the lid. Joey has his professional tools to fill his jars, but at home a spoon or ladle will do!

filling-jars

Again, you don’t need special equipment for canning – you’re simply submerging the jam jars into hot boiling water to kill off bacteria and seal the jars. But, you do need plan for how you’ll get them in and out without burning yourself!

Bring your pot to a boil, then turn it down to simmer. At that point submerge the jars in and make sure they are fully covered with water. It takes about 15 minutes for this pressure to seal the jar shut. To get your workflow right, while you’re cooking the jam set a large pot of water to boil so it’s all ready to go.

canning

And you’re done! So, what do you think, will you give jam-making a try? I hope you do and let us know how it turns out! A big thanks to Joey and his adorable sidekick for sharing! Do check out his shop, GSH Conserves and his full range of jams!

Joey

{diy} Deep Conditioning Yoghurt & Honey Hair Mask

DIY hair mask ingredients - coconut oil, honey and yoghurt

Dry, brittle. Puffs up in humidity. Frizzes out if you brush it. If this is your hair, I have just the thing for you! This anti-frizz treatment will  be your new favorite! Most hair treatments recipes are based on oil, but if you use too much, you end up looking like a grease ball for days. This mask is made with three ingredients that will leave your hair looking better than ever! All I ask is that you try it and let me know what you think!!

Yoghurt: full of protein, it offers nourishment that our hair needs to grow strong and healthy. It also has moisturising properties which make it a great natural conditioner. Are you trying to grow your hair? Yogurt has lactic acids, which is great for cleansing the scalp and clearing away dead skin cells to help your hair follicles grow!

Honey: honey is a humectant, it attracts and retains moisture in your hair and an emollient, helping to soften and smoothen. Full of vitamins, it’s also skin food for your scalp! Honey can lighten your hair over time, but if you only use this treatment once a week, you probably won’t see any changes.

Coconut Oil: you can’t do a good hair mask without a drop of coconut oil. It’s unique in that it can actually penetrate the hair shaft, moisturising from within. It’s incredibly nutrient rich and antibacterial – so you’ll be conditioning your scalp as well. It’s going to help the hair shaft to lay flat so that your hair looks smooth and shiny – but definitely not greasy. It’s a very rich oil, so a drop will do.

honey, yoghurt & coconut oil - DIY hair mask ingredients

DIY Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
for dry, frizzy hair

ingredients (double up for long hair):

  • 2  tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 1  tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 tsp coconut oil for thin hair, 1/2 tsp coconut oil for thicker hair (see how your hair soaks in the oil – mine can only take a drop!)

directions: 

  1. if your coconut oil is hard, go ahead and melt it down
  2. combine all of the ingredients together
  3. work the mask onto your hair, from the scalp to the ends
  4. give your scalp a good massage – you want the mask to cover your scalp
  5. leave the mask on for 15 -20 minutes
  6. wash as normal, if you use conditioner, just a small amount on the ends will do.
  7. do this treatment once a week to restore and maintain your hair.

DIY Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

Singapore Shopping Guide

Homemade Vanilla Body Cream

This is hands-down the world’s easiest body cream to make. I think a good, simple recipe can kickstart your DIY journey and this one has only two ingredients – Shea butter and oil. The 1970′s blender is optional – you can opt for something a little more modern, but that’s what I have – so we’re going with it :)

Ingredients-to-Make-Vanilla-Body-Cream

The best thing is that there’s no melting and cooling phase like when making a body butter (which is so lovely, please make it) or even a lotion. This is more your quick – blend and slather recipe. No fuss. That said – I really recommend that you infuse your oil first with vanilla beans to give it a sweet, exotic scent. Here’s how to infuse the oilbut for this recipe, maybe leave out the hot chili! unless it’s cold where you live and you like the idea of a warming lotion…

Make-Vanilla-Body-Cream-Little-Green-Dot

Shea Butter – a small tub of shea butter can last you for ages, it’s so rich and nourishing you only ever need a tiny bit. Use it straight from the tub to soften your cuticles, on dry patches of skin, even as a deep-treatment for your hair. In this recipe, we’re adding it to give your cream it’s richness and deep moisturising effects. Shea butter is packed with vitamin A, known to be helpful in helping healing wounds, bug bites, skin rashes, ezcema and stretch marks!

Coconut oil – You can really use any oil that you like. Read my top 6 favorites here. Almond and safflower are good for all skin types. Avocado for dry skin. Grapeseed oil is great for oily skin. I really love coconut oil – I always have a bottle of it on the go in my kitchen and I love its skin moisturising, nourishing and cleansing properties!

After blending, you’ll have a rich and thick cream. If you find it to be a little too oily on your skin – add in a bit of arrowroot powder and it will dry with more of a powder finish.

Vanilla Body Cream

It feels so gratifying to make something beautiful, natural and good. It’s a real fist-pump in the air – I can’t believe I just made this – moment that I hope you have :) Give this body cream a go and see if it works for you!

Vanilla-Body-Cream-Little-Green-Dot

Vanilla Body Cream Recipe

ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp shea butter
  • 4-6 tbsp of oil – more or less depending on how thick or runny you want it. You can use coconut, or another – or make a blend!
    if you want to infuse your oil, check out this vanilla infused oil, but maybe leave the chili seeds out :)

ps – I once tried to infuse my shea butter – never do that! It gets wasted, you start with 1 cup and end up with 1/4 cup! Infuse the oil instead.

  • optional: 1 tbsp arrowroot powder, if you find it’s too oily on the skin

directions: 

  • in a small blender or magic bullet – blend up your ingredients until creamy smooth
  • done!
  • store it in a jar, will last for a one or two weeks. Make small batches!

photography by: FellowFellow for Little Green Dot

It’s getting hot in here! Vanilla Spice Massage Oil Recipe

Love is in the air! Let’s heat things up with this super easy, yummy and maybe just a little naughty - hot Vanilla Spice Massage Oil! I think it makes the perfect Valentine’s gift! But, I hope  you like it so much – that you use it far beyond February – and have fun celebrating LOVE all year long!

Vanilla-Spice-Massage-Oil

You won’t believe how easy it is. Here are the ingredients we’re using:

Coconut Oil: One of my favorite oils – coconut oil is rich yet absorbs nicely into the skin, making it a good massage oil base. It’s also packed with antioxidants which helps to nourish, heal and protect our skin! In fact, it’s so high in antioxidants, that it makes coconut oil incredibly antimicrobial – so it’s cleansing as well.

Vanilla: Ancient Aztecs found vanilla’s spicy and exotic scent to be a natural aphrodisiac. I wonder if you’ll agree! :) Vanilla has mood enhancing properties, giving our brains a euphoric effect, which helps to alleviate anxiety and stress.

Chili Seeds: This adds our heat! A little goes a long way – so start small. Chili  warms the body, helping to soothe tired muscles and improve circulation.

Ingredients-for-Vanilla-Spice-Massage-Oil

Every single time I make a chili infusion – I burn my eyes, my lips, my cheeks… don’t be like me. These seeds are potent – so don’t touch your face and do wash your hands immediately. The final infused oil doesn’t burn, it’s only warming… but those tiny seeds are full of heat!

Chili-in-the-Vanilla-Spice-Massage-Oil

After you strain your oil, reserve the vanilla pods. You can blend them up, mix it into sugar and oil and make a vanilla body scrub too!

There you go! So simple to make, and yet comparable to anything you could buy in a boutique! Bottle your massage oil, tie a bow and make your loved one a Free Massage card. I think you’ll both love it! PS – this makes a lovely body oil too – especially if you could use a little warming up :)

Bottling-Vanilla-Spice-Massage-Oil

Vanilla Spice Infused Massage Oil

Ingredients:

  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp chili seeds

Directions: there are 2 ways to make it: FAST (heat infusion) or SLOW (cold infusion)

Fast (heat infusion)

  1. cut each pod into four pieces
  2. mix together all of the ingredients in a heat safe glass container with a lid (or foil paper) to prevent the vanilla’s essential oils from escaping into the air.
  3. set in a bain marie for one hour.
  4. strain the vanilla seeds using a coffee filter
  5. bottle your oil  - will keep for 6 months

Slow (cold infustion) many prefer this method to retain the properties of the oil

  1. mix together all of the ingredients in a glass jar with a lid. You can keep the pods whole or cut in half if you prefer
  2. place the jar in a sunny spot for two weeks – the longer, the stronger your infusion will be
  3. if you cut your pods in half, use a coffee filter to strain out the seeds
  4. bottle your oil – will keep for 6 months

Happy-Making

photography by: FellowFellow

Where Can You Find Mason Jars in Singapore?

This post is for my Singapore friends, answering one of the top 5 most popular questions of 2013:

Where Can You Buy Mason Jars in Singapore?

You guys really like jars! :) I’m sure you have loads of crafting, organising and gifting ideas – so let’s get you set up!  Here’s a list of shops for you to check out:

  1. Giant – (some outlets) carry Fido glass jars with flip lids and also, and the plastic mason jars with a handle, lid and straw – really good for green smoothies on the go!
  2. Franc Franc - carry the same plastic mason jars as Giant (plus it’s a really cute shop!)
  3. Ikea – they have the larger flip-lid glass jars, really good for pantry goods!
  4. Fairprice Finest – carry Quattro Stagioni jars
  5. Daiso – carry generic glass jars
  6. Spotlight - carry a range of proper canning jars ( 4 for $30) with the double lid system
  7. Howard’s Storage World – sell the same canning jars as Spotlight
  8. Tangs – sell the Quattro Stagioni jars and others
  9. Crate & Barrel - sell Weck jars! Be warned, you can happily spend all day and month’s wages in this store!
  10. Medtra - sell all sorts of glass jars and containers
  11. Every one of these stores sell a variety of mason jars – a kitchen-ware guide that I wrote for Sassy Mama

Did I miss one? Help me grow the list! If you spot another shop, share it with everyone by leaving a comment below!

Check out some of my favorite Mason Jar crafting ideas on Pinterest:

Check-Out-My-Pins

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