7.23.12 Jam On: Summer Giveaway

Toast 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
I am not so different from the beasts of the field and forest. Even in this heat, and with all of summer's bounty making it seem that we will never lack for food, we're thinking ahead to those cold, barren months. The squirrels are stockpiling pinecones, the mice are hiding seeds, and I am preserving fruits, vegetables and herbs in a variety of ways. I buy so much fruit at the local farmers market that I am officially known as a good customer and receive certain perks. This week that meant 10 pints of free raspberries deemed too soft to sell but really in absolutely perfect condition. That very same day I cooked them down and put them up—their sweet essence, garnet hue and soft, floral fragrance stowed away for a wintry delight. I've done the same with yellow plums, apricots, gooseberries and strawberries, so I've got quite the collection going in my basement. And it would be my pleasure to share some of it with one of my readers. Just leave a comment before Sunday the 29th at 6pm, and I'll select a winner at random to be announced next Monday the 30th.
Raspberries 790 xxx
red rover, red rover, let berry come over
I used a prize-winning recipe from Britain's Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, whose River Cottage books and television series have come to define a rural-sustainable way of life I so admire. Like much of his cooking, this jam is simple yet does much to highlight the pure flavor and magic of its ingredients; in this case, just raspberries, relatively little sugar and a bit of pectin. Lightly boiled for a loose texture, it falls under the category of "fridge jams"—a soft-set preserve with a fresh, tangy flavor that keeps well in the pantry but must be refrigerated upon opening. Naturally, you'll want to start with the best berries possible. Hugh recommends you aim for a mixture of ripe and almost-ripe fruit, preferably still warm from a hot, dry day in the field. Raspberries are such pushovers. A spoonful of sugar and a splash of cream and they give it up, releasing their scarlet juices and sultry perfume without the least resistance.
Jars 790 xxx
a jarring effect
This easy canning method that requires no boiling of the jars is not one often touted in this country, but I've used it frequently with much success. (As always, I recommend Pam Corbin's The River Cottage Preserves Handbook for this and other excellent recipes.) I wash my jars with very hot, soapy water and then place them on a newspaper-lined baking sheet in a 250-degree oven to heat up/sterilize while I make my jam. The lids I bring to a boil in a saucepan of water, and then leave at a slow simmer until ready to use. As long as you pour and cap the preserves while they are still above 195 degrees, your jars should seal safely. If any don't seal, you can always reprocess them, or stick them in the fridge and enjoy them now rather than later.
Toast 2 790 xxx
a toast to you
Raspberry jam is wonderful stirred into yogurt; muddled with some mint at the start of a delicious gin cocktail; plopped on top of meringue discs with whipped cream; or whisked into crème fraîche and chilled in little cups for a rich and sophisticated dessert. Raspberry jam on toast is perhaps the best of all. It's one of my favorite ways to spread the love.

Raspberry Fridge Jam

lightly adapted from The River Cottage Preserves Handbook; makes about seven 8-oz jars
  • — 3 pounds, 6 ounces perfectly ripe raspberries
  • — 3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • — 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered pectin

Heat the oven to 250 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with newspaper and set aside.

Wash your glass jars with hot soapy water, rinse well and place right-side-up on the baking sheet. Place in the oven to heat up as you cook your fruit. 

Place lids in hot water, bring to a boil and then hold on low heat until ready to cap jars.

In a medium bowl, blend together the sugar and the pectin.

Pick over the raspberries very carefully, discarding any leaves, stems or rotten bits. Place half of the fruit into a preserving pan and use a potato masher to coarsely crush it. Add the remaining fruit and sugar mixture (this will look mouthwateringly good).

Stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a rolling boil, then boil for exactly 5 minutes. (If you prefer a firmer jam, continue boiling at this stage for a further 2-3 minutes.) Remove from the heat, stirring to disperse any scum.

It is important to pour and cap this low-sugar jam quickly, but you must allow it to cool just a little first (give it 5 or 6 minutes) to prevent all those seeds from rushing to the top of the jar. Take lids out of hot water and dry with a clean towel. Remove jars from oven and fill with hot preserves. Wipe rims with a clean cloth and seal immediately with lids. Place tray of filled jars on a level spot where it can remain undisturbed for 6 hours.

After 6 hours (or more), check jars to make sure seals have formed. Any that do not have a firm seal should be refrigerated. The rest can go into cool storage.

Use within one year and, once opened, store in the fridge.

Download recipe  Download Recipe


I would be honored to share in your raspberry bounty!
Heidi on July 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm —
just jammed last night with the torrent of blackberries that are presently pouring in the door! maybe you need to head on over here, where you are certain to get a special deal.....
janet on July 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm —
The jam on toast looks delicious! With three little ones I'd never be able to get enough raspberries from our bushes to make jam!
zoe rae on July 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm —
I don't want to steal one from someone else, but come the holidays, there'd best be one in my stocking.
Lisa on July 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm —
Family is SO entitled...
laura on July 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm —
I know it might be nepotism but would you deny a "favorite" cousin?
Fred on July 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm —
No comment, cuz. ;-)
laura on July 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm —
Glutton jam in my belly would be Jammin'!
Alyssa on July 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm —
...just came in from tying up my sprawling raspberry canes - the berries way behind after a cool spring and summer in PDX - to find your post. I'll hope to have enough by end of summer to make your jam...
judy b on July 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm —
My mouth was watering as I read this post. I would be thrilled if I won the prize.
Nancy on July 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm —
omg, you don't need to send me any - just wanted to say I can taste it through the photos - amazing.
Mily on July 23, 2012 at 9:39 pm —
Rasberries are my favorit fruit. And rasberry jam is one of the only ones I really truely appreciate. Oh! Did I mention that they don't grow here?! I mean we're blessed with a bounty of produce but, berries, hardly any, it's too hot and dry. Sometimes, when I'm very lucky, I'll get a jar from a sweet grandma living in a milder climat. The rest of the time I'll just sigh reading posts about those ruby bursts of flavor... :) Needless to say I'd be thrilled to try some of your jam!!!
alwayshungry on July 24, 2012 at 2:57 am —
Not sure mine can compete with a "sweet grandma's" but you never know...
laura on July 24, 2012 at 7:45 am —
my belly is screaming for some jelly! plus, i read "Bread and Jam for Frances" last night to my kids since i had this post in my head!
nikki on July 24, 2012 at 10:07 am —
I love the idea of syncing bedtime stories with food on the brain!
laura on July 24, 2012 at 10:24 am —
I am not sure if I am leaving a comment as I cannot read anything I am typing - but I would love some of your homemade jam!!!
Jenny on July 24, 2012 at 10:39 am —
I love the idea of not having to boil the jars! Now I only wish I had the room for all the jars I would like to fill...sigh! Would be thrilled to get some of yours, however. Definitely have the room for that. :)
mindy on July 24, 2012 at 10:43 am —
This looks delicious! I started canning about a year ago and am eager to soak up new tips of the trade. I have never tried this method - just the water bath in a large canning pot. This does seem much easier and less time consuming. What is a preserving pan btw? I made a batch of raspberry-santa rosa plum jam last week cooked down with a vanilla bean. Came out yummy but took hours! Would love to try some of your jams :)
Samantha Olden on July 24, 2012 at 11:41 am —
Samantha, a preserving pan is just a large, heavy, not-too-deep pot with slightly sloped sides that is ideal for this type of cooking. I am obsessed with mine, which is copper and conducts the heat so beautifully. (Here's a link to it: http://tinyurl.com/d4m8jvw
laura on July 24, 2012 at 11:53 am —
Thank you for the offer and even more for all the great information shared! Be well,God bless and we'll be checking in with you often...
Debbie on July 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm —
Pam's book is wonderful! (so are all the River Cottage series - have you seen the one about mushrooms and hedgerow fruits with John?-) Laura, have you tried a teaspoon of raspberry jam in tea? I have had a total of 10 raspberries this year and I would love some jam!
Karen on July 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm —
I haven't seen the mushroom book, Karen, but it sounds right up my alley. Jam in tea is so Russian—thanks for a great tip!
laura on July 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm —
Lovely photos, as always. I'll push through my fear of canning one day and, until I do, I'd greatly appreciate a jar of your raspberry jam!
Abigail on July 26, 2012 at 7:17 am —
Thanks for sharing the recipe. I'm new to canning but have been on a roll this summer. Haven't yet tried to can without water bath, so will try this recipe next!
Richard Gervase on July 26, 2012 at 11:35 am —
Richard, the timing is key but this is a really easy canning method that's widely practiced in the UK. Just remember to check your seals.
laura on July 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm —
Really, really? If I you draw my name, you will send me some jam??? Wouldn't that be a bounty! I'm in!
Beth on July 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm —
This jam looks wonderful
Lindsay on July 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm —
jamm on!
trix on July 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm —
Preserve the art of jam making.
Roy on July 30, 2012 at 7:23 am —