Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Red Raspberry Jam

As the summer draws to a close, I find myself grasping for as many warm weather moments as possible. Even though I hear school buses rumbling down the street each morning, and Halloween displays are already out in the markets, I don't want to give up the beautiful golden glow of the late summer days. I don't want to stop enjoying being outside, or run out of fresh sweet raspberries from the berry patch.

Sadly, these are inevitabilities; Autumn is coming - the gold leaves that are slowly scattering across our yard prove it. There is a way to bridge the seasons, though, while the summer raspberries are still abundant.

This year I'm taking a cue from my jam-making mother-in-law, and preserving the best sweet red fruit that the late season can provide. Homemade Raspberry Jam is delicious and simple to make: A big basket of raspberries and a few cups of sugar create the best cure for the end-of-summer blues!

This jam is delicious on toast, as an add in to creamy Greek yogurt, or baked into your favorite cookie.

Red Raspberry Jam
makes 8 cups

(8) 6 ounce packs of fresh red raspberries
6 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 package of liquid pectin

parchment paper
sanitized jam jars*
paraffin wax, melted**

* You can sanitize your jam jars in the oven. First, remove the lids, and wash with warm soapy water. Allow to dry completely. Preheat your oven to 225F and place your rinsed and empty jars on a large baking sheet. Allow the oven to come to temperature and place the jars into the warm oven. Let heat for at least 20 minutes, then turn the oven off and allow the jars to stay warm until you're ready to pour the jam.

** I have chosen one of the old fashioned methods of preserving. If you choose to wax seal, versus boil, it is a far faster and simpler process. You can melt the wax in a glass jar or heatproof measuring cup in the microwave, before you start the jam.

Wash and rinse the raspberries in a large sieve. Pick through the berries and discard any discolored raspberries. Transfer to a large bowl and mash the berries with a potato masher until broken down (We like the raspberries seeds here, but if you don't, you can strain half of the crushed berries through a fine sieve and return the pulp/juice to the reserved smashed berries.).

Next, transfer the raspberry mash to a medium sized saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of water and 6 cups of sugar to the pot. Stir thoroughly.

Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Allow to boil for one minute and then add the pectin. Stir gently.

Allow the mixture to come back to a rolling boil that can't be stirred down (trust me, you may think you're over-boiling, but you're not). Once at a hard boil, Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. The berry mixture will foam quite a bit.

Remove from the heat and gently skim off the foam with a large spoon.

Take your jars and transfer them to a sheet of parchment paper (easy clean up!).

Next, carefully ladle out the jam into your assorted jars, being careful to leave about an inch of space empty at the top for the wax.

Once all of your jars are filled with jam (one inch from the top), pour at least a half inch of melted wax on top of the jam and seal with the metal tops. After dispensing the wax, tighten the jar tops completely. The heat combined with the cooling jam will make a seal for the jars.

Cool, label and store, or (if you're like us), skip the wax on one of them, and start a jar right away!

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