Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wonderful Raspberries

Last year I was fortunate to get 6 raspberry canes from a lady who was offering them on Freecycle (hi, Marti!). I stuck them in the ground and watered them faithfully. But they turned brown and withered. I got distracted with other garden projects and didn't get around to pulling them up. One day, as I passed by, I thought I caught a glimpse of green. On closer inspection it was apparent they had only been playing possum. Perhaps they were putting all their energy into establishing their roots? But now they were focusing on leaves. Soon they were sending out new canes. I even got a few ripe berries last summer. But this summer they are really taking off.

I have been picking the berries daily, and freezing them. Waiting to get enough for jam. But I still don't have enough berries all on my own. So last Sunday I purchased 2 half pints from a vendor at the South Tacoma Farmers' Market. There were 2 vendors there, with raspberries, but this fellow's price was a dollar less. When I went to wash the berries it was apparent why his price was lower. I had to toss out almost 1/4 of the berries due to mold and rot. Even though I just bought them 2 days ago. Needless to say I won't be purchasing from that vendor in the future. I was able to salvage most of the berries, and when I added the ones from my garden, and mashed them all, I had a full 2.5 cups of fruit. The recipe I'm going to share is a tweaked version of one from RecipeZaar. I added some lemon juice (for tang) and some butter so it doesn't foam and need skimming. I also cooked it for an extra minute to make it thicker. The beauty of raspberry jam is in its simplicity. You don't need pectin, and the proportion of berries to sugar is easy to remember and adjust. Here is the recipe as I make it:

Raspberry Jam

An equal amount of both:
crushed raspberries
For example, I had 2.5 cups of crushed berries so I used 2.5 cups of sugar. This makes the recipe very easy to adjust.
1/2 Tbs. lemon juice for every 2 cups of fruit
1/4 tsp. butter for every 2 to 2.5 cups of fruit (do not omit)

In a large saucepan (use larger than you think you'll need. The jam expands and splatters) heat berries, lemon juice and butter. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar. Return to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Fill sterilized jam jars leaving 1/8" head room. Wipe jar edges with a clean damp cloth. Top with a sterilized lid and screw band. Tighten the band as much as you can by hand. When all the jars are filled invert them (stand them on their heads) for 5 minutes. Flip them back over and allow to cool. You'll hear a "pop" when they seal. If any jars fail to seal, refrigerate them and use within 2 weeks. Store sealed jars in a cool dark place.

NOTE: I used 2.5 cups of fruit and got 3 full jars and about another half of one to use right away.

Of course I had to sample some to be sure it isn't poison. My dinner:


NewlyAwakened said...

Ya, raspberries tend to be zombies and return from the dead! lol Ours are going gangbusters and we have plenty if you ever want more or know of anyone who needs some, hint hint. I didn't know you could just "jar" directly with no water bath! Seems pretty simple. Your jam turned out beautiful and I bet it tastes as good as it looks. Is that homemade bread too? :)

luvewe said...

I have always used the inversion method for jams. As with many things, opinions change, and some may not agree. But it's always worked well for me. Heck, folks used to just use parrafin to seal jam jars. I make sure to sterilize the jars well, in boiling water, first.

And yes, that is homemade bread. I don't eat store bought. And I don't use a bread machine. I like baking bread the old fashioned way.