Radical Homemakers and a Strawberry Jam Recipe.

April 21, 2010

So, I started reading a new book. Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity From a Consumer Culture. Have you heard about it? I am only 100 pages or so in, so I can't really give you a synopsis yet (I'm no good at those anyway), but I will say it really has me thinking about several issues. One issue being the idea of the family as a productive unit, rather than a consumptive unit. Making things rather than buying them. Doing it yourself rather than paying someone to do it for you. Not being a pawn in the evil corporate world's marketing game.

Too deep/complicated/uninteresting/confusing? I apologize.

Why don't I just give you a recipe to get you started? Good idea. We all eat strawberry jam from time to time. And probably you bought it in a jar at the store, right? Turns out, it is very simple to make and is a great way to use up past-their-prime berries.

Quick Strawberry Jam
from The Gourmet Cookbook

1 lb. strawberries, hulled, halved and mashed
1/2 c. or so sugar (depending on sweetness of berries)
2 T. pectin
2 t. lemon juice (or to taste)
pinch salt

In a 12 in. non-stick skillet, stir and simmer all ingredients over moderate heat for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Cool and put into pretty jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

That's all! See? Don't you feel all Laura Ingalls Wilder now?

Seriously, though, have you read the book? What do you think?


  1. I already suffer from the "I have to do everything myself" mentality. But, I'd still like to read the book. :^) I could definitely get behind the idea of production as opposed to consumption.

  2. Uninteresting? Nah, more like catnip :) I hadn't heard of this book, but it sounds like my next read. Right after I finish Little House in the Big Woods :) Really.

  3. 180/360: Yes, I think you do "suffer" from that a bit...but your family is probably better off for it. This book is right up your alley. Yours too, Blake!

  4. Hmm... I wonder where you got this idea? ;) You can also make it without the pectin - I just used strawberries, lemon juice and zest.

  5. you do have to simmer longer without the pectin though - mine took about an hour. It was based on Ina Garten's quick strawberry jam recipe - but I used half as much sugar.

  6. I have been making jam at home for sometimes. There is one shortcomings is they will go bad in 2 weeks. (which bought one won't, hence maybe cost less if get a commercial one)

    However, I do like the idea of anti-commercial. Or view consuming from another angle.


    Btw, I agreed with Alice Q Foodie. I do not use pectin. If the berries are dry, you just have to cook it for a longer time. It set perfectly.

  7. I didn't comment when I first read this post, but it got me thinking and I feel I have to make a point. It worries me a little that it is popular to refer to large companies as "evil". Certainly the current political talk is full of that. Many large companies are good citizens and employ alot of Americans, and last time I checked, they don't force us to buy their products. I am very much interested in being self-sufficient and not getting caught up in commercialism. Perhaps you were being tongue-in-cheek with your reference to "evil corporate world's marketing game" so please don't take this against you personally! It has just bothered me recently that so many people publically demonize banks and corporations when many of them are good corporate entities. Didn't mean to rant. The book sounds like something I would like to check into!

  8. Looks dee-lish. I want my jam on a homemade scone! Thanks for inspiring me to make some jam, it's strawberry season in June in Vancouver. Until then I'll dream. xx

  9. Thank you very much for the book recommendation. Since I left the corporate world, I get such a high (a healthy high!!) off of 2 things 1) Finding great products and good deals; and 2) Producing great food that you'd normally buy (like ice cream, syrup, bread, granola, etc.). It does feel very 'Little House on the Prairie-ish!' So this book is completely up my alley. A couple other great ones along the same line that I have are "Food Matters" by Mark Bitman and "Well Preserved" by Mary Anne Dragan.

  10. I'm not reading that - but it sounds interesting. I LOVE the idea of not being such a consumer!!!

    I bought the Joy of Living quite awhile ago at your recommendation - so enjoying it!

  11. Sounds like a very interesting book - I will have to check it out! When I was about 10 I was obsessed with the Little House series. I've made peach preserves and Meyer lemon preserves. Will definitely try this! So easy!

  12. Sounds like a book I'd love to read. I've been trying to reclaim some domesticity around our house and am really enjoying providing for my family without having to be such a consumer. Next on my task list is sewing, wish me luck with this one.

  13. I recently got the Radical Homemakers book and have been enjoying it...slowly. I feel that for our family there are logistical nightmares (we could not ever take public transport or bikes to the store/I often forget my own grocery bags/I do shop at Target for things that you can only get at Target) to overcome and that can consume me yet if I remember that having a little garden, tending chickens and sewing (some) clothes puts me on the path to radical then I'm doing good.
    Good work with good intentions. Thanks for the jam recipe! I was just staring into the bowl of sorry strawberries wondering what to do with them!

  14. I'll be very interested to see how it provides "a new perspective on the feminist movement" since it seems to require women to step backwards several decades and do/make everything themselves (or wait, did we ever stop?) Of course, secularly overworked women might welcome the opportunity to simplify and stay at home and engage in domestic handicraft....at least for a few weeks.
    Sorry, but every "social revolution" seems to just dump more and more responsibility at the mother's feet, even if it claims to be egalitarian.

  15. Thanks for the book rec-- sounds really interesting and I will check it out. It's so important to teach our kids to consume less. I also like Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. It is a great resource for all sorts of issues relating to keeping a home running smoothly.

  16. I'll trade you ricotta cheese for your strawberry jam:)

  17. I really really really wish I had seen this post before making jam for the first time yesterday. My recipe called for FIVE FLIPPING CUPS of sugar! That's insane!

    Where did you get the glass jelly jars, if I may ask? I hate my plastic ones.

  18. I keep meaning to tell you, I ended up buying and reading this book this summer. Thank you so much for sharing it with us! It was so much more than I thought it would be and it totally fueled my fire for what was already in the works. :)


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