We've been having a lot of fun, Desi, Jay, and I, picking raspberries in the backyard. A few summers ago, soon after we had moved into this house, Desi and I planted a tiny little raspberry shoot because it is my favorite berry hands-down. In the years since, with minimal to zero maintenance, it's grown and grown into a thick, thorny bush that's pretty much taken over the entire patch, smothering out everything else that was ever there, including some mint. But in return, it rewards us with armfuls of fresh, juicy red raspberries each year.
The other day Desi and Jay brought in so many that I had to think of a way to use them up fast. Raspberries, as anyone who loves them knows, have a very short shelf life which is probably one of the reasons why they cost an arm and a leg at the market. With all of this goodness on hand, I decided to do something I'd been wanting to do for a while-- make raspberry jam.
I've often made jam in summers past (you can find my Peach Jam and Blueberry Jam recipes on the blog), and I usually make small quantities that are enough for us to enjoy and share with a few friends, not vast amounts for canning. This time it was a little extra fun because we were using our own home-grown raspberries. I pretty much stuck to this recipe from Martha Stewart, only changing the quantities slightly because I was using what I had on hand.
It's also always fun to cook when you have curious and interested audience. While Desi couldn't care less, usually, about how things get made so long as he gets to eat them, Jay is always on hand asking me questions about how this is made and that (he's going to be a good cook, that one). He couldn't have been more excited about the berries-- and the jam, which he promptly guzzled up with some buttered toast. Then, he doubled up as errand boy and delivered jars to the neighbors and ran home excitedly to tell me they had asked him to deliver a "thank you!" How cute is that?
Before I ever got around to making jam, I used to think it would be a complicated process. But once I'd made it, I realized that it couldn't be simpler and I've been hooked for many years now. If you've never tried your hand at making your own preserves, I'd highly recommend it. Believe me, there's nothing that makes you feel more like a domestic goddess for so little work. 🙂
- 4 heaping cups of ripe red raspberries
- 3 1/4 cups turbinado sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- Place all of the ingredients in a large pot and, over medium-high heat, bring it to a boil. You need a candy thermometer to check when the jam is done-- it makes life much easier. All you need to do is wait until the temperature reaches 221 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring a few times while you wait. If you don't have a candy thermometer, let the mixture come to a boil and let it go for about 8 minutes. When you put a drop of jam in a glass plate and put it in the freezer. If it gels, it is ready, otherwise boil for some more time and repeat the test.
- When the jam's cooled slightly, transfer to airtight jars. Since I don't use sterilized jars (just very clean ones) because I didn't mean to keep these for a long time, you do need to refrigerate if you use this method of preserving. Otherwise, google up canning instructions and follow them.
- I got just enough to fill three recycled jam jars of 13 ounces each.