Silly season

Raspberry jam is one of my recommendations for the starter canner, because it’s so easy and so amazingly, deliciously good. Raspberry jam sets in the twinkle of an eye, looks beautiful and tastes like summer, whether you lick out the preserving kettle after the boil-up venture, or whether you serve it on fresh-baked bread in the middle of winter. But we might have gone a little bit crazy after a raspberry picking venture this weekend.

The original plan was  cherry jam, mostly for canning buddy, and raspberry jam, mostly for me, and perhaps one or two more if we felt really enthusiastic. But after picking 10 pounds of raspberries in something under an hour, as well as smaller quantities of strawberries and peas, we moved into overdrive, with an intense production line of six different sorts of jam that filled the whole house with the smell of summer.

Cherry jam
I admit this isn’t my favorite jam, and I ended up with cherry syrup last year after trying to wing it without a recipe.  But canning buddy likes it, and the spouse is a fan as well, so there was no choice. We followed the Bernadin recipe, we used pectin (which I usually resist) and we got five jars. Pit cherries, add pectin, add sugar and boil for just over a minute until it sets. I may have got the order wrong on that one. I will make it another version when the sour cherries roll in later this month and will post a proper recipe then.

Raspberry jam
This was the main point of the fruit picking exercise, and we liked the idea so much we did it twice, once with the basic “best every raspberry jam” recipe  from “Jellies, Jams and Chutneys” (one pound sugar, one pound raspberries) and once with my tried and tested 4-3-2 ratio (four cups fruit, three cups sugar, juice of two lemons). I admit I think raspberry jam needs lemons to give it a kick, but will wait for a more formal taste test to determine if this is true.

Raspberry cherry jam

Madelaine Bullwinkle’s Gourmet Preserves was our inspiration for this one, although we only had one type of raspberry (she suggests black raspberries and red raspberries) and we had sweet cherries rather than sour. We used two pounds of raspberries, one of cherries, 2 tbsp of lemon juice and a mere 2-1/2 cups of sugar. It set fast, and is deliciously tart.

Raspberry strawberry jam
We made this one up, on the 4-3-2 principle. Two cups raspberries, two cups strawberries, three cups sugar, juice of two lemons. Heat gently until sugar dissolves, then boil like crazy until it sets. It takes a little longer to set than raspberry jam does, but has a lovely taste.

Raspberry redcurrant jam
4-3-2 raspberry jam recipe, with a generous handful of redcurrants thrown in at the end for fun.

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3 Comments »

  1. Also good for raspberries: chocolate raspberry sundae topping!

  2. I agree that raspberries need citrus, but we find that the combo of raspberries and orange (both the juice and the zest) is quite tasty. Next time you’re swimming in raspberries, give it a try.

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