Blueberry Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb is not traditionally a fruit used in jam or jelly. Blueberries are a low acid fruit that are used in jam but lemon or lime juice is recommended with the pectin that I used. Rhubarb is acidic and the combination made a tangy balance that jelled nicely.This was a double batch, based on the directions given with the pectin. A recipe using rhubarb was not included in the box of Pomona’s Universal Pectin but their website has several variations that do call for some additional lemon juice. My version tastes good and jelled without lemon juice.

  • Pomona’s Universal Pectin home page: [pomonapectin] Recipe pdf: [pomonapectin] The pectin is derived from citrus peel and its jelling power is activated by calcium rather than sugar. Sugar free jams and jellies or low sugar varieties can be made more easily with this type of pectin than with standard pectin. Traditional jelly recipes may use 7 cups of sugar per 4 cups of fruit.

Blueberry Rhubarb Jam  (double batch)

4 cups blueberries
6 cups chopped rhubarb (this measurement was the raw product – 4 cups mashed/cooked was needed)
1 cup cane syrup  ***
2 cups powdered sugar  ***
(*** cleaning out my cupboard – swap 2-3 cups regular sugar)
2 teaspoons calcium water mixture – follow jelly package directions.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is softened.

1 cup white sugar —  mixed with
4 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin

Add the pectin/sugar mixture to the boiling fruit while stirring. Continue to stir for 1-2 minutes and then remove from the heat and ladle into sterilized jelly jars for canning.

Low sugar jams and jellies should not be preserved with the melted wax seal method. Sugar itself acts as a preservative when it is in greater concentration than other nutrients. The lower sugar jams and jellies should be sealed by pressure canning or stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Watch for mold on the surface.

Sour Cream Cucumber Salad

This salad has a mild sour cream dressing with thinly sliced and peeled cucumbers. The dressing gets more watery over night and the flavors blend together as the salt and vinegar in the dressing pickle and soften the cucumber slices. Mix the dressing ingredients together in small bowl and then add to the cucumbers – or add all of the ingredients to the cucumbers but the sugar and vinegar dissolves and mixes with the sour cream more easily in a separate small bowl.

3 cucumbers – peeled and cut very thin, 1/8th inch thick

4 green onions / scallions – minced
1/2 to 1 cup sour cream, regular or light – I don’t use fat free because it doesn’t provide any oil for a dressing.
1-2 Tablespoons cider vinegar or white cooking vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt – helps pickle and preserve the cucumber slices

This makes about six to eight 1/2 cup servings.


Orange Buckwheat Cake tastes a little like rainbows

This is a quick bread with ratios similar to a rich muffin or cake like brownie. Oat flour may have traces of gluten but it helps reduce the crumbliness of buckwheat, millet and corn flour products.
  • I have been focusing on developing recipes that use less commonly used ingredients that are rich in phospholipids and other nutrients. Rotating in more unusual ingredients into the weekly or monthly diet adds trace nutrients. Coconut and walnuts add variety to the types of fats in the diet. The saturated and mono-unsaturated fats benefit the diet by improving the ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids but without having to add animal based fats. Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found more in oily seeds, while olive oil has a higher ratio of mono-unsaturated fats and coconut is rich in saturated fats. Walnuts are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids to the point that excessive daily use could lead to problems with blood clotting and bruising easily.
  • The fat content of a meal also is needed for the stomach to tell the brain that the meal was satisfying and that eating could stop.
    Variety and moderation are the essential factor to a healthy diet. Using a variety of whole food ingredients in the daily diet boosts intake of trace nutrients and other phytochemicals. Many important antioxidants are also the actual pigment colors in the plant.
  • Taste a Rainbow” of fruits and vegetables is a campaign that some school lunch programs have embraced. The changes in the school lunch program had been anticipated since 2009. Registered Dietitians in larger school districts have been revamping menus since then. Student participation has been encouraged with sampling days where new vegetables or other foods are available for everyone to try even if they brought a sack lunch.
  • Produce requirements have doubled from requiring that 1 and 1/2 servings of fruit and vegetables be offered per meal to 2 servings of vegetables and one of fruit (roughly- the numbers are listed in cups).
  • The following article adds that “French Fries” that are served in school cafeterias have been baked for years and frequently are sweet potato fries. According to the following article in the magazine, Today’s Dietitian, deep fryers are not generally found in school kitchens. :  [New Standards Unveiled for School Lunches – Soon Kids Will Be Eating More Fruits, Veggies, and Whole Grains, by Lori Zanteson,  todaysdietitian Vol,. 14 No. 5, p 14]
Trial Three showing the interior texture. I ran out of frosting.

Orange Buckwheat CakeTrial 1
Makes one 8 inch by 8 inch pan, bake at 350’F for about 35-40 minutes
***This combo is good but a little dry and stringy. Commercially purchased Coconut Pecan Frosting was the perfect finish which led to Trial Two with raisins and walnut additions.

1 cup Buckwheat Flour
1/2 cup Oat Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Coconut Flakes
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1/2 stick/ 4 Tbs Butter melted or 1/2 cup Oil
1/2 tsp Orange Oil Extract
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Apricot Nectar or Orange Juice

Trial one and two = lots of cake to eat.

Orange Buckwheat Cake – Trial Two – I’m aiming for a variation of Carrot Cake. the coconut by itself stands out as an odd stringy texture that suddenly needs to be chewed more than the rest of the quick bread. When carrots and coconut are used with raisins or chopped nuts the combined textures and shapes blend into a mixture that makes chewing expected and more natural.

1.  Let soak while gathering the other ingredients:    Trial Three – the raisins were a little odd but the level of moistness was better.)

5.5 oz can Apricot Nectar                             2/3 cup Orange Juice

1/2 cup Golden Raisins                                 1/2 cup Coconut Flakes

1/2 cup Coconut Flakes                               1 cup chopped Walnuts or Pecans

1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

2. Whisk Dry Ingredients together:

1 cup Buckwheat Flour                               3/4 cup Buckwheat Flour

1.2 cup Oat Flour                                       3/4 cup Oat Flour

1/2 cup Sugar                                             3/4 cup Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt                                                  1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder                             1/2 tsp Baking Soda

3. Beat the eggs and oil and then add to the flour along with the soaking fruit and nut mix.

2 Eggs                                                        2 Eggs

1/2 cup Oil                                                  1/2 cup Oil

1/2 tsp Orange Oil Extract                           1/2 tsp Orange Oil Extract

1 tsp Vanilla Extract                                     1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Bake King cake pans with sliders. eBay

4. Bake in a 8 in by 8 in square pan for 45 minutes or  in two 9 inch round cake pans for about 35 minutes or when they pass the clean knife blade test and the center springs up lightly when pressed.

*** I put Trial Three in two cake pans. The batter is excessive for one pan but a little short for two. Trial Four, eventually, will test a larger batch size of Trial Three to better fill two cake pans with no other modifications to the ratios or ingredients. It’s good just short and dense.

My mother used the Bake King cake pans with a center slider. Buttering or oiling the pan and then sprinkling that with flour is the traditional method for improving the chance of getting the cake out of the pan unbroken.

Some bakers trim the edges and flatten one layer before frosting.

PS – The orange extract is good with the strong flavor of the buckwheat but just the vanilla would probably also be good. I  used Apricot Nectar in Trial One and Two because it is less acidic than orange juice. If using orange juice substitute 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda for the 1 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Powder. The Baking Powder has an acidic component that would be unnecessary if Lemon Juice, Buttermilk or Orange Juice are used in the recipe.

PPS: The orange juice plus baking soda worked very well in Trial Three.

PPPS: This type of frosting is traditionally used on German Chocolate Cake and only the top of the layers are frosted. The crisp edges would not be trimmed away when using Coconut Pecan Icing.

  • Ovenex Cake Pans with Sliders -[link] a brand that seems comparable to Bake King. The center of the cake pans have a slider attached that cuts the cake loose from the bottom of the pan. The center of Trial Two stayed behind as I removed the cake from the square pan.