Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Raspberry Jam

Jellies and jams are a lot of fun to make. Oh sure, it might seem a little intimidating with all the steps involved, and it does seem a little daunting, the whole cooking food now, but preserving it to eat later. These 'old fashioned' techniques have served our mothers, grandmothers and beyond for many years, it helped them extend the harvest of hard won crops and provide food for families throughout the winter. Its a real shame that these 'old fashioned' arts are becoming endangered, and why not really? The Kitchen Witch will be the first to admit its a LOT easier to go to your local grocery & grab a jar of jam off the shelf, than it is to crush the fruit, boil the fruit, sterilize the jars, pour hot syrup into jars and process in a water bath. But once you've tasted homemade jams & jellies, no store bought jar will ever be the same.

The Kitchen Witch is NOT a jelly/jam/preserving specialist. She has, however, read a lot of material about the canning/preserving process and has enough kitchen skills, and equipment, to pull it off. The equipment was an inheritance from the Husband's grandmother in Nebraska. The Witch was delighted to be the recipient of a water bath processor, a pressure canner, tons of jars, rings & new lids as well as freezer containers, the fruit crusher/strainer and everything else you'd need to can a garden's bounty. All this equipment has been tried and tested by at least 2 generations before mine, and I feel a special kinship to those women when I use their canning equipment.

The fruit is straight from the Witches' back yard. Raspberries occupy a back corner of the yard and provide the bright red fruits for this jam. If you don't have a raspberry patch in your back yard, check farmers markets for fresh seasonal fruit or even craigslist, there are lots of people who have fruit trees in their yards and don't need, want or desire the actual fruits. Recently I've seen ads for crab apples, apples and other jamable fruits. All for free, I might add!

All the measurements are in pounds for this recipe, I feel that's the most accurate way of measuring the juice and sugar here, since all fruit produces different amounts of juice. One last note: please don't let the overwhelming amount of sugar used in jam/jellying scare you off. The sugar plays a few roles in the whole process; in addition to sweetening the fruits it also assists in the jelling process. Artificial sugar substitutes can not be used in this recipe, some natural sugars like honey can be used according to information out there. If you are looking to use honey in place of sugar please check a reputable source for the correct canning formula, its not as simple as 2 cups sugar = 2 cups honey, unfortunately. Here are a few good sources: Ball canning and home canning.

Raspberry Jam
makes about 6-8 jars
2.75 lbs raspberry juice (fruit that has been pressed thru a mesh sieve) (about 5.5 cups)
2.12 lbs cane sugar
1 box pectin

Sterilize 8 jelly jars by washing them in soapy water, rinsing then boiling in rapidly boiling water for 10 minutes. Leave jars in hot water until ready to use.

Press fruit through a cone shaped fruit strainer. Discard seeds and pulp once seeds start to come through the holes in the stainer. Believe me its not worth the excessive seeds for the small amount of juice you get.

Heat the juice and sugar in a large pot. I use my pasta/stock pot. The syrup really expands as it boils so make sure you've got plenty of room for expansion.

Once syrup starts to boil sprinkle on the pectin packet. Stir well to dissolve the pectin powder.

Bring to a rapid boil and cook for 10 minutes. A rapid boil is when you can't knock the bubbles down by stirring. Stir every few minutes to ensure even cooking and avoiding scorch spots.

~*~Kitchen Witch Tip: Be sure to sterilize all implements that will come in contact with the jam by boiling in rapidly boiling water for 10 minutes minimum. Do not touch any surface that will come in contact with food, IE jars, use a jar lifter and don't touch the lip or inner surface.~*~

Using a jar lifter remove jar from boiling water. I like to work on a sheet pan lined with an old towel for ease of clean up as well as stability for the jars. Place a sterilized canning funnel on top of the jar and using a sterilized ladle, ladle hot jam syrup into the jar, leaving 1/4 inch head space.

Place a new lid on top. Do not reuse the lids, the sealing compound is only good once. Put a ring on top of the lid and tighten it to finger tight.

Repeat with remaining jam and jars.

Place sealed jars back into the boiling water bath and process in rapidly boiling water for 15 minutes.

Remove jars from water and allow to cool completely. This can take 12 hours or more. Once fully cooled check the seal by pressing on the lid, there should be no give nor should it make a clicking sound. If it does then a proper seal hasn't been achieved. This jar is still fine to eat but it should be consumed as soon as possible and stored in the refrigerator. Properly sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 years, if they last that long.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
makes 8 jars: 8 servings per jar
Amount Per Serving
Calories 71.5
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 0.0 mg
Potassium 29.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Sugars 15.8 g
Protein 0.2 g


Michelle said...

So pretty! You're right...it sounds awfully intimidating. One of these days, I'll try it. Your pictures are great, and you give great instructions. One question: How do you avoid touching the kids? Wear gloves?

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Michelle, I avoided touching the kid by sending her to play at her cousins house!! I highly recommend that method when canning :) Its a lot of hot water & hot syrupy things and a curious 3 yr old & those items don't mix well. I've also made jam while she was napping, but those days (naps) are long gone, unfortunately :)

Jenn said...

I want to spread that on my toast right now! It looks so incredibly good, Andrea!
Where was your husbands grandmother from in Nebraska? (I was raised in Ashland, NE)
And lucky you having a raspberry patch right in your back yard....JEALOUS!!!!

Michelle said...


Michelle said...

My sides hurt from laughing so hard.

Okay, now that I'm slightly more composed, how do you avoid touching the LIDS when canning?

(trying not to burst into fits of laughter for fear my chihuahua will think I've lost it.)

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

LMAO that's funny! Ok I avoid touching the *lids* by using this awesome canning tool called, get this, a lid lifter! All it is is a plastic rod with a magnet on the end :) Touch the magnet to the lid, put the lid on top, and there you go. You can touch the top of the tops, just not the rubber sealing compound or the underside that will come in contact with the canned good. Hope that helps!

I still stand by the sending the kids away to avoid touching them :)

Megan Carroll said...

Looks delicious....

i think canning fell off when woman threw out their aprons and went out into the work force. I for one would like to see a revival of some of the those lost skills...

Yenta Mary said...

That looks gorgeous!!! I used to make and can jam all the time ... still have the water bath equipment in my basement, but don't have the time anymore ... :( I miss it!

Kim @ Two Good Cookies said...

Canning and preserving totally intimidate me. But this looks so good. So good. Mmmmm....

Siri said...

So pretty and so delish!!

All Our Fingers in the Pie said...

I do a lot of canning and love it. Just waiting for tomato season.

Ananda Rajashekar said...

getting berries from own garden and farm is encouraging....but making jam am paranoid, will bookmark for a day to come...lovely pic Andrea :)

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