I am so excited that spring has finally arrived and canning season is now underway!
Yes, over the winter I have been canning. Every time I buy a rotisserie chicken, I make sure to boil that carcass with some mirepoix and the result is a dozen pints of chicken stock (more on that topic to come at a later date.) But while making stock does get my canning juices flowing, it isn’t the same as starting with fresh produce and making something yummy to preserve for years to come.
The other day, a friend mentioned that red raspberries were on sale at my local grocery. Six ounce packages for a dollar each!
Whoa, mama! Looked like I was gonna be making raspberry jam!
Now I’m not one to stand on details… jam vs. jelly or jam vs. preserves. In my household, the words are all interchangeable. I know! Don’t crucify me, LOL I have strained fruit to make clear “jellies” but for the purpose of this blog post, I’ll just say jam, okay?
So here are my beautiful berries. Gorgeous, right?
Now, I was looking up recipes for canning raspberry jam, and some called for pectin and others didn’t. Because the raspberry seed is so naturally full of pectin, I decided that I was going to go au naturale….AKA sugar and fruit!
First, I washed up my berries, crushed them in a large stainless steel pot with my potato masher. Make sure when you make any kind of jam, you use a BIG pot. Because when that stuff starts to boil, you will quickly have a scene from Dexter or Game of Thrones on your stove top if you aren’t careful….LOL Remind me to tell you that story one day!
Next, I turned the burner to medium-high to heat up my raspberries. Once they were starting to warm, I used my immersion blender to smooth the fruit for a more spreadable finished product. You could skip this step if you prefer chunkier jam, but my thought was this: the blade would break up the seeds, thus releasing more pectin and it would set faster, thus retaining the tart taste of the berries rather than an overly sweet jam.
Once I had my fruit beginning to boil, I added a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of butter.
Yeah, ancient grandma’s secret: add a tablespoon of butter so the jelly doesn’t foam up while cooking.
And yes, it really works.
Then I added my sugar and brought it to a full rolling boil (that’s when even stirring doesn’t stop the boil)
Then I stirred.
And stirred some more.
I actually pulled up a bar-stool to the stove and read a book by my friend Kayla Jameth on my tablet while I stirred, LOL
Without pectin, how did I know the jelly was done?
Well, I placed a glass plate in the freezer and at 25, 30, 35 and 40 min, respectively, I placed a small dollop of jam onto the plate. After it chilled, if it didn’t run and maintained it’s shape, I knew it was set. It took 45 min of stirring at a rolling boil for this to happen this time around.
And lot’s of sampling, LOL
I filled sterilized (via the dishwasher) jars with jam, leaving 1/4 inch head room. My new lids and old rings were washed and gently simmering on the stove to stay hot. I made sure the rims of the jars were clean, a wet paper towel wipe, then a finish wipe with a paper towel soaked in white vinegar. I always do a pass over on the rims with vinegar, especially when canning something sugary. This ensures a clean, quality seal. Then fifteen minutes in a water bath, and BAM!!!
Raspberry jelly time!!!
LOL See what I did there? I used jelly instead of jam. I’ll prolly do that forever.
Well, whatever you call it, fresh homemade fruit spreads are a sure-fire way to make everyone in your family smile! Enjoy the recipe and please feel free to leave your tips and/or experiences!
10 six-ounce pkgs red raspberries
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs lemon juice
8 cups sugar
Wash berries and remove all leaf and/or stem debris. Place in a LARGE stainless steel stock pot(never use non stick pots). Crush berries with potato masher. You can use the immersion blender if you want a smoother finished product.
Turn burner to medium-high heat. When berries are hot, add butter, lemon juice and sugar.
Bring to a rolling boil (that’s when even stirring does not stop the boiling) and stir continuously until it sets. This step may take 25-45 min depending on the ripeness of your fruit. You can test the set by placing a plate in the freezer then dropping a small dollop onto the plate. If it keeps its shape and does not run after it cools, the jam is set.
Leaving 1/4 inch head space, fill sterilized jars. Clean the rims well, using a vinegar dampened cloth to clean the rim. Close jars fingertip tight and process in a water bath for 15 minutes. Makes 10-12 half pint jars
Remove jars when finished and set on a cooling rack. Then sit back ad and wait for the “pop” as your jars seal.
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Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. She loves music and dancing, and can often be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.