Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Red Raspberry Jam

I trekked out to the Chesterhill Produce Auction where I quickly became the owner of twelve pints of raspberries. What to do with so many berries? I'm making jam! 

Raspberry seeds are a natural thickener, but to bring out the pectin naturally in the berries, first bring the berries to a simmer and then add the sugar.  

A weight scale gets consistent results versus the measuring cup method. I use a metric scale I purchased in Japan, but  the ounces are also provided.

This looks beautiful, all shiny and red, plus it tastes awesome!

Red Raspberry Jam
Adding the whole raspberries at the end of the cooking process gives you a nice chunky jam. Using the ratio of 1:2/3 cup (berries to sugar) allows the ripe fruit taste to come through.  Estimate about 2 pints of berries for 1 pint of jam. Yields 6 pint jars.

Fresh Ripe Organic Raspberries, 1500 gm (53 oz) = 1125 gm (40 oz) + 375 gm (13 oz)
Granulated Sugar, 1000 gm (35 oz)
Optional add 3 drops of essence of violets at the end of the cooking process 

Useful Equipment
Long handled spoon
Large heavy bottom Dutch Oven
Mesh skimmer or spoon to skim off foam and small bowl of water to dump the foam
Jars for canning with lids and bands
Canning Pot for water bath 

Place metal spoons or plate into freezer.

Wash inside and outside of canning jars with lids and bands (estimate a pint jar per two  pint of berries). Bake the open jars at 250ºF (121ºC) for 30 minutes. In a small pot over low heat, simmer the lids until needed. Lay out a clean cloth to wipe jar rims after filling. 

Pick over the fruit and discard any unripe berries, stems, leaves, critters, or mold. Fill a bowl with water and swish the berries around-- prevents damage from the faucet's stream to the delicate fruit. Arrange in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to prevent bruising and dry.

Set aside a quarter of the berries, 375 gm (13 oz), near the stove to add at the end.

In a large heavy bottom pot with a wide rim such as a dutch oven over low heat, add berries, 1125 gm (40 oz). Occasionally sitr to soften the fruit and draw out the pectin until it comes to a simmer,  5 to 7 minutes.

Continuing over low heat, add the sugar and stir into berries until dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase heat (medium high to high depending on the heat source) to boil rapidly. Stir frequently to prevent sticking, until the jelling point is reached, 15 to 20 minutes- see the next step below. Skim foam off the top as needed. 

After 15 minutes begin to test for the jelling point by placing a bit of the hot jam onto a spoon or plate from the freezer. If the jam runs, continue to cook and recheck after a minute, if the jam runs in a sheet and crinkles when pushed up, the jelling point has been reached.

Add remaining whole berries. Return to boil on high until translucent and just hold their shape, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Let jam settle. Skim off any foam, being careful not to disturb the jam underneath. Allow to cool and thicken to let the whole fruit pieces to remain disbursed, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Ladle warm jam into clean sterilized jars with a 1/4-inch of head space. Wipe rims with clean damp cloth. Apply lids and seal with bands-- tighten bands to just finger tight. 

Place jars in a pot with a rack and enough water to cover the jars by about an inch. Bring water to boil and process for 5 minutes. Start the timer when the water begins to boil. Refer to manufacturers instructions for specific canning details for either the waterbath or oven method. 

Remove jars from water and place on surface to cool (wood, folded cloth, newspapers, silicon mat, etc.). Tighten the bands. Allow to sit undisturbed for 24 hours until cool. With a permanent marker, label the lids with the date and contents. 

Check the seals the following day. Any unsealed jars must be used within a few days and stored in the fridge. Store jars in a cool dry place. Use jam within 1 year.

At the Table
Use jam with bread, sandwiches with brie, french toast, oatmeal, yogurt, scones, waffles, salad dressing, etc.

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