Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sugar Free Strawberry Jam

Some fellow moms and I took our toddlers strawberry picking at Liberty Mills Farm.  It was a lot of fun, even though we came out so muddy we had to stick the kids back in the car stripped down to their skivvies!   We ended up with a ton of strawberries which we brought home and canned all together.  This was the recipe I used, and it’s fantastic: http://sarahs-musings.blogspot.com/2009/06/honey-sweetened-strawberry-preserves.html  We didn’t follow it exactly, we skimped a little on the honey, and replaced some of the apple juice with water since the berries were so incredibly sweet.  (Side note- Use all the pectin recommended!  We also skimped on the pectin, and it was a syrupy mess.  I had to reboil it with a whole extra packet of pectin!)  My calculations are based on making a triple batch while following the recipe correctly.  Sorry I don't have pictures of the process, with 6 kids under 3 running around, it just wasn't happening!
Strawberries: $30
Jars:$15.98 for 2 dozen jars (not the cheapest around, but from a great local store, so I’m fine with it)
Honey: Scrounged from my shelf, I’m not a big honey person.  Bought new it would have been $6.47/ 32 oz ($3.64 for 18 oz)
Organic Apple Juice: $3.19/ 64 oz ($1.19 for 24 oz)
No Sugar Pectin:  $2.99 each ($8.97 for 3 packets)
Try It: 
$2.49 per 8 oz (reusable)jar or $.311 per oz
Buy It: 
$2.50 per 10 oz Polaner All Fruit or $.25 per oz
Try it.  It’s a little more expensive to make it, but I think it’s still worthwhile since the jars can be used again next year, and the strawberries are grown without pesticides or herbicides, the juice is organic, I know exactly what went into it, and the price includes a full day of entertainment for my son and me.  Also, you can decide how sweet and how chunky you like your jam!  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Our family is in the process of phasing out kitchen sponges.  They get gross pretty quickly, and they’re not compostable, and they come in plastic packaging.  So I'd like to phase in the dishcloth.  I found an incredibly easy pattern for knitting or crocheting here:  http://www.joann.com/static/project/0706/P148439.pdf  It was fun to make, I could do one during a movie, and I loved the way the crocheted one felt.  I was really excited about them.  Unfortunately, they don't scrub that well and I find them to be too large to manage, but that's all probably because I've been using kitchen sponges since I was a kid.  The good thing about making it yourself is you can always customize the size (as well as the color, shape, and texture)
Prices stated are retail, but I found them both on sale.
1.99 for a ball of Sugar n’ Cream, 1 ball makes 1.5 dishcloths. (1.99/1.5 =   1.33)
1.99 for a crotchet hook

First cloth comes to a whopping $3.32, and subsequent cloths would be $1.33
Store bought: 
11.99 for an 8 pack from Target, coming to $1.49 each
Buy it ...unless you are looking for an easy project to get you into yarn crafts.

Welcome to Try It or Buy It!

Interested in trying your hand at something new but not sure if it's worth it?  You've come to the right place.  Starting now I'll be analyzing the cost and outcome of homemade products and letting you know if it was worth the trouble.  I hope you find this helpful, I know I'll find it fun-

The Tryer