Raspberry Jam

Today was a cooking whirlwind.  It was the first day of our Nash’s CSA, and when my sister and I looped through the market to pick up our box I couldn’t resist bringing home a flat of raspberries as well.  So that meant jam-making (and everyone eating countless raspberries off their fingers, of course) in addition to our first CSA salad of the season, followed immediately by a five-hour cooking spree with new and old friends to produce a Senegalese feast.  The dishwasher is now running for the fourth time.

My sister was making gorgeous salads on one counter (greens, strawberries, goat cheese, pistachios, balsamic, thank you!) while I got a habenero chile sauce going on the stove, so J had the bright idea to set up the canner on the barbeque burner outside.  We will certainly be doing that again this summer to keep the kitchen cool.

Here are a few things you should know about making jam.  First, you don’t have to can it.  You can always make just a bowl or a couple of jars; keep them in the fridge and use them within a week or two (depending on the sugar content).  Alternatively, you can make a larger batch and freeze your jam instead of canning it.  Finally, if you use pectin, I recommend Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which doesn’t require a high percentage of sugar to work.  So you can sweeten your jam to taste and it will still set nicely.Raspberry Jam: Oh, it’s such a subjective thing.  Here’s the best I can do: each little basket of berries is likely to yield about a half pint (a small jar) of jam once mashed, cooked, and combined with sugar, so plan accordingly.  Decide what kind of pectin to use and carefully follow the instructions included in the box.  Some types of pectin require you to use a certain amount of sugar, and if you don’t, the jam won’t set.

If you’re using Pomona’s Pectin, as I do, mash your raspberries and then measure them into a pot.  Add the proper amount of calcium water (the mix is included with the pectin) to the fruit then bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, combine the minimum amount of sugar with the required amount of pectin, then whisk the sugar mixture into the boiling fruit to dissolve it.  Start tasting.  Continue adding sugar to taste.  In my experience, a low-sugar jam is nice and tart, then as you add sugar there will be a moment when the taste seems a bit flat.  Add a little more sugar and the taste will brighten again.  Or you can do as I did today and let a gleeful five-year-old be your taster and the absolute arbiter of whether to add more sugar.

Can, freeze, or eat your jam from the pot with a spoon.


17 thoughts on “Raspberry Jam

  1. Somer

    I have just started using Pamona’s Pectin for jam too. I love it! And no more failed sets after tinkering with other brands to try to reduce the sugar content!

  2. Sarah

    Homemade jam is the best! I love being able to adjust the sugar to taste – usually a lot less than commercial jams and jellies.

  3. littleveg

    Wow! Great idea to set up the canner outside!! I tried for a while to make jam with fruit juice, but went back to sugar so it would taste like my mom’s. Now I use a process very similar to yours. Yum!! I tried Rapadura once, but it has a pretty strong taste that overpowered the berries.

  4. rachelocal

    What a great idea for keeping the kitchen cool when canning! Bravo, J! :) I’ve never canned by myself before or made jam. Guess I’ll have to go to the farmer’s market for some raspberries so I can try your recipe. Thanks!

  5. reno21

    Try a raspberry jam without pectin too — raspberries (like apricots) have a lot of pectin, and I find the jams set like a charm without anything added at all. But I’ll look up that pectin for my next attempt at cherry jam. :)

  6. Erina

    Flying home from Boston today and Ree of the Pioneer Woman was on the Food Network making Strawberry Jam! Raspberry sounds even better though. YUM!

  7. musingmar

    Can you believe I’ve never made jam? And me a farm girl and Certified 4-H Homemaker!!! What have I been waiting for? If it’s inspiration, I just found it in this lovely post.

  8. Allison

    This makes me mourn for the giant backyard raspberry patch in my childhood home in Wisconsin. Raspberries are so expensive now– and I buy them in such small quantities– that I always want to just eat them right out of the basket rather than cooking them into a jam. (But yours looks so good!)

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