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Making Raspberry Jam

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At the end of the summer holiday season there’s a random assortment of leftover packaged food in my beach house kitchen. Family and friends visit loaded up with good things, (none of us like to compromise when it comes to food) then they leave empty handed, generously contributing whatever’s leftover to the communal kitchen stocks.

This has been a clean up, clear out, consolidate weekend. They say things come in threes. Amongst the ephemera in the fridge were three open jars of mayonnaise, three open tubes of wasabi, three open jars of green tomato pickles (all homemade to my recipe by different people) and three open bags of frozen raspberries.

I made wasabi mayonnaise to create an extra choice in the mayo department. Pickle is pickle, so I’ll roast a leg of lamb to be eaten as cold cuts and that will disappear reasonably quickly. With the frozen raspberries I made a small batch of jam. I have wonderful childhood memories of my paternal Grandma’s “pippy jam”, not too sweet, spread on buttered brown bread. I still adore that robust berry flavour.

I use a simple formula when making any jam. Weigh the fruit, then calculate the amount of sugar you need. I use 3/4 of the weight of the fruit. Many people advocate equal weights but I find jam made in those proportions too sweet. Add less sugar and your jam is likely to go mouldy on the surface. I also add the juice of a lemon to punch up the pectin level which helps the jam set quickly.

Jam should be cooked over a low heat and in small batches to maintain the colour and fruitiness. You do not want the sugar to caramelize. I always put a simmer pad under the jam pot to prevent the base of the pan burning.

Once the jam begins to thicken, it’s time to start testing it to see if it gels. I put a small dob on a saucer, put it into the fridge for a minute or two then remove it and drag a finger through the cool jam. If the jam doesn’t run back into the finger track then it is ready to put into sterilized jars, seal and store.

As a general guide, a medium sized jar of jam will be roughly 250g of uncooked fruit. I always sterilize more jars than I calculate I’ll need because evaporation and gelling time varies according to the ripeness and variety of fruit. It’s much easier to return clean jars into storage than have to sterilize a second batch.

I save any screw top jar that gets emptied in my kitchen. I wash the jar and lid in the dishwasher to remove any odour of the food it originally contained. To prepare the jars for reuse I wash them again in warm soapy water, soak off the old labels, then put the jars only on a tray in a preheated 120C oven for 30 minutes.

Because of plastic lids, plastic seals and plastic inner coatings on the metal lids, I boil them in small saucepan of water for 5 minutes before sealing the hot jars of jam. As the jam cools, a vacuum is created, guaranteeing longevity, up to 2 years.

Jam on toast, jam tarts, Devonshire tea, ladies kisses, jammy coconut slice all taste better with homemade raspberry jam.

as a guide:
600g raspberries, fresh or frozen
450g white sugar
Juice of a medium lemon

Make the jam according to the instructions above.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

11 comments on “Making Raspberry Jam

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  4. saucygander
    April 20, 2014

    Yum, proper raspberry jam! I’ve also used recycled jars for jam or chutney, so far with no ill effects. 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 21, 2014

      Homemade raspberry jam is wonderful!! I learned from my Mum about reusing jars. Providing you clean and sterilize them properly you should never have an issue.

      Like

  5. ChgoJohn
    April 20, 2014

    No need to sell me on homemade jam. I really do enjoy making it and I won’t bother with toast if there’s no jam to be spread upon it. I will keep your ratios in mind this Summer, though. I never considered them before and I’ll be interested to see how close my recipes come to yours. Thanks for the tip.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 20, 2014

      You help me, so I’m more than happy to help you! Not being bound to a particular weight of fruit means jam making is easy anytime. I’ve been known to make a single jar with half a bowl of leftover berries from dessert.

      Like

  6. Francesca
    April 17, 2014

    Raspberry jam is so much better home made. I never thought of using left over frozen raspberries for jam- a good idea. I often puree them into a coulis. I also re- use commercial lids and find them successful in jam and chutney making.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 17, 2014

      I don’t have a sweet tooth but I find raspberry jam irresistible. Jam is always the first thing I think to make with extras. My grand kids have cleaned me out of berry jam already so I made another batch, 50/50 frozen raspberries and blueberries. That works really well too.

      Like

  7. My Kitchen Witch
    April 17, 2014

    A long way to jam making season here. Raspberries are just putting out new green growth! I agree with your fruit:sugar ratio – more like how the French make their wonderful jams. Both English and American recipes contain too much sugar! However, I do revert to my American roots by using proper canning jars with the two part lid. I’ve never re-used basic screw top jars. Interesting that this works for you.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 17, 2014

      It’s common practice here in Australia to recycle lidded jars for homemade jams etc. I have never had any problems, but I diligently sterilize the jars and lids, fill them while the jam and jar are both hot and seal them immediately. Over the course of the next few hour you hear the lids popping as the contents cools and the jar vacuum seals. Good for the planet and my pocket

      Like

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This entry was posted on April 17, 2014 by in Breakfast and Brunch, Food, Gluten Free and tagged , , , .
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