|(Almost) Instant Gratification|
Recipe Adapted from Happy Girl Kitchen
Red raspberries: my absolute favorite fruit! They’ve been scarce this summer compared with golden raspberries, which are also delicious but too subtle in flavor to make good jam. Since raspberry season is so short, preserving them in light honey sauce is a way to eat them almost indefinitely. This year I also tried raspberry jam, adapted from the Happy Girl Kitchen recipe for Low Sugar Strawberry Jam that I posted a couple of weeks back.
|Letting Berries Macerate|
|Wiping Top & Threads to Ensure Seal|
This jam is a bit tart (it’s low-sugar, nu?) compared with strawberry and apricot jams from the same recipe. Next time I’d use Meyer lemon for the lemon juice, a hybrid of lemon and mandarin that is a bit sweeter. Or I’d add an extra half-cup to cup of sugar. But my husband prefers the more natural, less sweet flavor.
|Berries Releasing Air While Cooking|
|The Right Stuff: Jar Lifter = Faster & Safer|
makes 3½ pints
2 lbs. organic red raspberries
8 oz. (by weight) evaporated cane juice (unrefined sugar)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Wash raspberries and drain very well and/or pat dry. Combine with sugar and lemon juice and cover. Let sit in a dark, cool place overnight, or for at least 8 hours. You can let it sit for up to 2 days if you need to, but be sure that the temperature stays cool.
The next day: Put 2 or 3 saucers into the freezer. You’ll use these later to test whether the jam has gelled.
Wash jars in hot soapy water and boil for 15 minutes in a pot of water that covers jars by 2 inches. Remove jars from water bath with jar lifter. Drain upside down on kitchen towel located where you’ll be filling the jars with jam. Don’t pour out the hot water bath, you’ll use the same pot of hot water to process the jars of jam.
Put clean unused jar lids into bowl and add some of the boiled water from the hot water bath. Leave the lids in the water until you need them. It’s easiest to use a (jam making specific) magnetic lid lifter to get them out of the water.
Mash the fruit with a potato masher or similar hand held tool. Put fruit in 8 quart deep stainless steel or enamel pot. You may use a somewhat smaller pot for this jam, but depth helps prevent splatters. Bring fruit to boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
Boil the mixture on high heat, and keep stirring constantly. Wearing an apron and oven mits helps prevent burns. Foam will appear around the edges of the pot. Continue stirring till foaming subsides. Once all the foam is gone, start testing to see if jam is gelled.
|Close Enough to Gel Point|
When gel point is reached: Fill first jar to within ¼ inch of top, using a wide mouth jam funnel and measuring cup or ladle. Wipe the top of the jar and threads with a damp paper towel. Fish a lid from the hot water with a lid lifter and shake off water. Place on top of jar. Screw a ring onto jar loosely, barely finger-tight. Avoid over-tightening as air must escape during hot water processing in order to seal the jar.
Repeat this process with all jars until all jam is used. A heat-proofspoonula is a good tool for scraping out the bottom of the pot. If the last jar is only partially filled, don’t hot water process that one. Store it in the fridge and eat it within a few weeks.
|Digital Meat Thermometer Eliminates Guesswork|
Put heat under pot again and bring water temperature to 210 degrees F. Process for 5 minutes, keeping temperature constant by adjusting heat and/or position of pot on stove. Remove pot from heat.
Use jarlifter to remove jars from hot water bath. Set each jar on kitchen towel. Don’t set directly on any cool or fragile surface. As soon as jars are cool enough to handle, tighten rings. I just discovered an inexpensive ring tightening gizmo that makes this a cooler (literally) job.
Cool for several hours or overnight. Lids must “snap” down to seal. If after cooling you can depress the center of the lid, it is not sealed. You can either refrigerate that jar and eat it within a few weeks or remove the ring and lid, wipe the jar top and threads with a damp paper towel, and reprocess.