Artisan Strawberry Raspberry Jam
Funny enough, the author of this recipe also did a canning marathon one weekend (I don’t feel crazy. Steve just finds the mess overwhelming):
strawberry jam, strawberry/rhubarb jam, strawberry/raspberry jam, and raspberry jam. i’d rather make a huge mess and get it over with, all at once.
I didn’t make plain raspberry jam, but added to her list with rhubarb marmalade, rhubarb with lavender-honey, and yellow tomato chutney. This is her no-pectin strawberry raspberry jam that I tried:
- 4 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen whole berries; don’t defrost first because they collapse in size)
- 4 cups (1 quart or 2 pints) fresh strawberries
- 6 cups sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed gives you 2-3 Tbs per lemon)
Note: The original recipe made the equivalent of 13 x 250 mL (8 oz) jars of jam but I didn’t have that many berries. This recipe has been halved and I yielded 6½ half pint jars.
Sterilize your jars in a boiling water bath beforehand (10 minutes at a rolling boil), soften your snap lids (warm water to soften the rubber seal, don’t boil), inspect your rings for rust/dents from previous use. Pitch the crappy ones – they are cheap to replace, and don’t reuse snap lids. You can buy them at the $1 store (12 in a pack)!
Combine the fruit and sugar in a tall stainless steel pot – this recipe will sputter because the berries have a lot of liquid and it burns when it lands on your arms. Let stand for at least an hour (or overnight) to draw out the juices. Add lemon juice (you can also add some curls of lemon zest in a cheesecloth bag for extra flavour) and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring consistently. You want a rolling (not roiling) boil maintained without overflowing the pot. Keep this going for 20-25 minutes to start, remove from heat and test to see if has set.
I love these methods to test for set (I have listed them verbatim from Gardenopolis). I had only heard of the freezer plate, but much prefer the sheet method for my first test.
- Cold plate: stick a small plate in the freezer to chill. Ladle a small spoonful of jam on the plate and wait a few minutes. Has it gelled to a jam-like consistency? No? Keep cooking. Not sure? Keep cooking. Nothing sucks more than having to unseal jam jars the next day and re-cook your jam (believe me, i know).
- Sheet: take a cold metal spoon and scoop up some jam-in-progress. Count to 20 and slowly tilt it. Does the jam run off in one big stream? Keep cooking. Does it ooze in several drops at a time, that slowly join into a sheet drop? It’s done.
- Eyeball: i’ve noticed that the consistency of long-slow-cook jam changes after about 20-25 minutes. The bubbles get stickier and glassier looking – similar to what you see if you’ve ever made caramel. The jam thickens up as you cook it down and you notice a difference in the texture as you stir.
Ladle jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace between the jam and the rim of the jar. Wipe the rim, seal the jars and process back in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (keep them upright). Cool at room temperature and check the seal after 24 hours. It really is that easy.
I find these recipes are much darker than the boxed-pectin method, probably from the cooked sugar, and it has a strong flavour from the lemon, but I think I’ll continue trying this type of method. I find that the processed method, with only a 1-minutes boil is sweeter as well.