Over the past few weeks my preserving has come up in conversations quite frequently and I have been surprised to hear from so many people that they are intimidated or afraid to try it. I suppose this is not a fair response on my part. After all, I grew up in a family of preservers so it seems almost natural to me. I can understand how it might be intimidating. When you read some articles online you hear all about the fear of botulism and all of the things that can go wrong. But if you follow some pretty simple instructions and start with a really simple recipe, I think you can get break through that initial fear.
One of the easiest recipes I know is the one that my mom passed onto me for raspberry jam and I thought for all of those people out there who are too afraid to try for fear of screwing something up...that I would share it. I even altered is slightly to use FROZEN raspberries. Yes you heard me....FROZEN. The cost of entry with this recipe is SO small that even if things do go wrong it won't matter.
Here is the checklist for what you need:
- 1 large pot (large enough to fit 3 - 250ml jars and be able to have the water to cover the top of them by about 2-3 inches)
- 3-4 250ml jars with lids
- 1 large saucepan
- 1 potato masher
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 soup ladle
- 1 600 gram bag of frozen raspberries
- 3 cups granulated sugar
Sterilize your jars and lids.
Put your 3 cups of sugar in a pot or pan and place in the oven for 15 minutes at about 250 degrees. Warming the sugar helps it to dissolve.
Place the 600g of raspberries in a large saucepan and heat over high heat. While it warms mash it furiously with your potato masher. The seeds in the raspberry contain pectin and beating the crap out of them helps release it. :) Bring it to a rapid boil and stir constantly for one minute.
Add the 3 cups of warm sugar, stir constantlyand bring it back to a boil. If you have a candy thermometer you can use this to make the whole process even easier. Keep stirring until it reaches 200-220* F. Don't have a thermometer? That's ok, just put a glass plate in your freezer at the same time as you start to sterilize your jars. After the jam has been boiling for about 5 minutes, take the plate out of the freezer and drop about a half of a spoonful of jam on the cold plate and let it sit for about a minute. If a gel forms then your jam is ready. If not keep cooking and try it again until you are happy with the set.
Ladle into hot jars, wipe the rims and seal. Place in hot water bath for 10 minutes and then remove. Now comes my favourite part - when you hear the popping of the lids as they seal. If you press on your lid and there is no give...it means they have sealed properly and if you store them in a cool dark place they should last for at least 6 months.
This recipe yields 3-4 jars of delicious home made jam.
See...SO simple and even if the jam doesn't set you can still use it in yogourts or as a soft spread on pancakes or waffles.
Now you have no excuse not to try! If you do try it...please share your experience. I would love to hear how it turns out.