Raspberry Jam

12 Oct

I’m trying to catch up a bit. About a month ago I made a huge batch of raspberry jam. We have gorgeous raspberries at Brookfield but at most we got about a quart with our share – perhaps enough for a small tart or something, but ours usually disappeared before having the opportunity to become an ingredient in an actual recipe. They’re so tasty – we would munch on them on the ride home, have them on our cereal in the morning or over ice cream for dessert.

In past years we’ve done a lot of canning. This year we haven’t done any – what with a baby and a new house we didn’t feel like we had lots of time.  By the end of the summer I was really feeling the urge though and found myself  bound and determined to make some jam. So, to fulfill my jam making craving we went to a local berry farm and picked two flats. Do you know how many berries that is??? 16 pints! We picked one flat and I thought, “oh that doesn’t look like much, that will barely make any jam at all.” What was I thinking?! When we got home the race was on to hurry up and make jam before all those berries started to spoil because we certainly didn’t have room in our refrigerator for all of them.

The first time I made jam I was blown away by how much sugar the recipe called for. The second time I tried to cut the sugar without changing the type of pectin I used and the result was something I would hesitate to actually call “jam” – but  it did make a tasty syrup for pancakes and waffles. Since then, I figured out it’s best not to mess with the pectin:sugar ratio and have used low-sugar pectin. This time I chose to try using a no sugar pectin. Instead of sugar I sweetened the jam with mostly apple juice.

I love the simplicity of making jam. I rinsed the berries, put them in a pot, crushed them with a potato masher, mixed in the juice I was using for a sweetener, gradually stirred in the pectin, and let it all come to a boil. I did end up adding a very small amount of sugar in the end, about 1 cup (considering I had 24+ cups of fruit, that’s not much!). The jam was pretty tart and a little sugar cut the acidity just enough.

Once the jam boiled for a couple minutes it was ready and  I poured it into sterilized jars. I have a large-mouthed canning funnel that makes this job easier and neater. Once the jars are filled, with a small rubber spatula you can take a quick swipe around the jar to get any air bubbles out. Then you want to wipe of the top edge of the jar to make sure there’s no jam there to prevent the lid from sealing on properly. Once the lids were screwed on I  processed the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, you take the jars out of the boiling water and just let them be for a about 24 hours. This is my favorite time because the cans make a pinging pop-pop sound as they seal and you know they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. The next day – make sure each can is sealed by pressing on the lid.  If it doesn’t give you know it’s sealed. If you can depress the top – you have two options. You can put the jam in the fridge – it should last 3 weeks or so. Or you can reprocess it in boiling water again. Sealed jars should preserve the jam for about a year.

If you’re interested in canning and looking for materials (jars, canning pot, accessories, etc.), check out your local hardware store. I’ve been surprised by the variety of canning supplies the hardware stores near me have had. For step by step instructions on making and canning jam, most boxes of pectin include them.

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One Response to “Raspberry Jam”

  1. aldon October 14, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    My daughter and I picked about eight pounds of raspberries early in the season. We ate about two pounds and froze the remaining. We may get around to making jam out of them sometime. We did make some good pectin-less strawberry jam in the beginning of the year, and we’re thinking of exploring something similar for the raspberries.

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