The busy bee’s are buzzing, the seasons progressing and unfortunately this summer is sneaking past. I’m not one who enjoys the heat however there is something distinctly youthful about summer. Summer is a really special time for my children. Everything seems almost ethereal, my kids are playing, and the sun is shining. The world seems vast and life is one big adventure. Before I know it my view of this vast green forestry will be a view of a sea of snow. I’ll be the queen of my very own winter wonderland with nine foot icicles. Although I really do happily prefer the colder month,s I have this love/hate relationship with it. The winter months bring great things, isolation (yeah I said it.) no sweaty boob cracks, no sun burnt ears, no bathing suits and of course no bug bites! I’ll admit winter does have its negatives, shoveling snow obviously sucks, and fresh produce in the winter is hard to come by. I try to have my family live by the seasons, I truly want my boys to have an understanding of whats good when, and why. Its important to understand that food is not to be taken for granted or exploited. I’m not so strict that I do not purchase out of season items but I do really try and enforce a certain understanding with my kids. Strawberries and watermelons are summer foods. Some things we preserve so that we may appreciate them later in the year. Summer is a time for a lot of people to stock their pantry with the summer produce at its best. Like Raspberries, fresh little gems are easily and naturally transformed into a jam that is delicious and beautiful beyond belief.
This year seems to have been a really bad year for farmers as well as my family. There’s been a crazy amount of rain and storms, we’ve had family emergencies, sicknesses and issues galore. (not to mention a ridiculous amount of construction) We somehow missed strawberry picking for the first time in I don’t know how long. I was absolutely devastated. I’m not one for buying a lot of things from the store, especially if I can reasonably do it at home. I’ve been spoiled year after year with my home preserved fruit spreads. I had them as a kid and most often jam has always been made with fruit my family picked with our own hands from local farms. Not getting strawberries this year meant, no preserves. Although I do have some in the cupboard, I know that it will run out soon enough. So I had to make something. Raspberry jam is something truly special, and insanely easy. Its two ingredients, raspberries and sugar. Red raspberries were not cheap for me, this batch of jam cost me more than what it would cost to buy it ready-made but I do believe its worth the quality. No preservatives, no chemicals, no middle man. Its peace of mind on your piece of toast, natural homemade raspberry jam.
Homemade All Natural Raspberry Jam (No Pectin involved)
With this recipe you can substitute any variety of raspberries or blackberries, you do not want to double the recipe. Make one batch at a time or it may not set right. (you’ll get raspberry syrup, delicious but not great on toast) I have not seen much variety at the grocery mart, and the farm stands have not yet had much fruit. At this point in the year I could not wait it out any longer, I NEED jam for the rest of the year. I purchased two of the “double” containers of Raspberries
, if you can find them at a local farm stand or pick your own that is ideal. If not? Go with a fresh, organic if possible berry from the store. I don’t normally preach about “organic”, but when it comes to very soft and porous fruits like raspberries I don’t mess around.
Yields: 4 half pint (8 ounce) jars
24 ounces of Fresh Raspberries or Blackberries (About 4 cups)
4 cups of sugar
Rinse and dry fruit. You can rinse them and gently rest them on a sheet tray lined with a clean dish towel. They are very precious and fragile, you do not want to pop their love all over your kitchen.
In a large pot combine the raspberries and sugar. Using a potato masher smash the fruit and sugar together until combined. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Stir continuously for approximately 8-10 minutes. You will want to adjust the heat higher to help it gel or lower to prevent burning. The mixture will visibly transform from a wet fruit sludge to a thick syrupy mixture. To test your jam you can dip a very cold spoon into the mixture, if it thickens it is ready.
Place into sterile dry jars. Clean the rims and dry them. Place lids and rings on and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. (or place into a preheated 250 degree oven for 15 minutes, this way of processing is not approved by the government however its what I do.)
*If you are unsure, remove the jam pot from the heat. Place some jam on a plate and refrigerate 10-15 minutes. You can always cook the jam a little longer, but once you’ve burnt it or candied it, your done. You can not un-cook it.
New to Canning and Jam Making? Check out these pages.