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Making raspberry jam

I don’t know why I have never attempted to make jam. It always seemed like an arcane magic that I should not attempt. It is strange as I always remember my mum in the kitchen cooking up jams, jellies and chutneys though out the summer. We would go out into the country and forage, collecting elderberries, rose hips, blackberries and anything else that grew. My mum would spend ages in the kitchen, a big preserving pot bubbling on the stove and jars were filled and put away. Over the winter the jars gradually appeared, blackberry jelly with a roast dinner, green tomato chutney with a curry. It added flavour to a meal and brought back the taste of summer in the winter months.

This year I have copious amounts of raspberries in the garden. I feel a bit like I have the magic porridge pot. Every day I go out and pick the ripe raspberries and the next day just as many have appeared to replace them. I love raspberries but you can only eat so many in one go. Luckily they freeze and my freezer is now filled with freezer bags full of raspberries. I decided it was time to try and make raspberry jam.

Raspberry jam

Luckily I have a preserving pan I inherited from my grandmother. It is the perfect size for making jam and sturdier than the preserving pans you can buy today. I normally use it to make a big vat of pot luck soup. It is the perfect size for throwing in a ham joint and loads of vegetables. It was time to put it to its proper use. Searching though my recipe books I found a lovely simple recipe for raspberry jam that my grandmother had written on a piece of paper and left inside a book. I did get distracted reading my grandmothers recipe books. They are full of interesting pictures of old range stoves and recipes that are no longer in fashion. I am going to have to try some of these soon. Some of the recipes for cakes I remember on the table when we used to visit at the weekend, it brought back some lovely recipes.
Raspberry jam

I always thought jam was a complicated affair involving pectin which had to be added separately. I had read horror stories about jam being too runny or too stiff if not cooked correctly. Pectin caused the jam to set and some fruits have it in abundance. Apparently raspberries are one of these as this recipe just used raspberries and sugar. It seemed a bit odd adding raspberries into a pan with no water but the juice soon floods out and you get a liquid that can be bought to a boil. When it is boiling the sugar is added and cooked until setting point is reached.

Raspberry jam

Finding the setting point was one of those things that always put me off making jam. There are plenty of ways to do it depending which book you read. One of the most common is to use the saucer test. This involves putting saucers in the freezer and when you are ready to test the jam place it onto the cold saucer. If it is ready to set then it should wrinkle when you push it with your finger. This sounded like it might result in broken saucers from freezing them too long. I decided to rely on my sugar thermometer and trust that when the jam reached 104.5C (220F) it would set. It did seem a bit runny at first but once it had cooled it set and was a lovely consistency.

Raspberry jam

When it had cooled slightly I spooned the jam into sterilised jars. I usually pour boiling water into the jars, leave them to sit for a couple of minutes and then put then into the oven at 150C, Gas Mark 2 while I make the jam. The hot jam should be put into the warm jars. Sterilising them will prevent mould forming on the jam. The finished jam was delicious spread on home made bread. It was full of the taste of raspberries and brought a touch of sunshine to morning breakfast. I am definitely going to try and make jam again soon.

Raspberry Jam Recipe

Raspberry Jam
Ingredients
  • 900 g 2lb raspberries
  • 900 g 2lb granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. Put the raspberries in a pan and heat gently. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes.
  2. Add the sugar to the raspberries and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Bring to a boil and keep boiling until the setting temperature is reached.
  4. Remove the jam from the heat and let stand for a few minutes.
  5. Skim off any scum then spoon into sterilised jars and seal.
Have you ever made jam? How do you test to see if it is set?

 

 

 

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15 Comments

  1. Angela Hickman
    August 10, 2015 / 10:14 pm

    Glad to see that you used a traditional recipe. Our grandmothers knew best! Raspberry jam is a good beginners jam with equal quantities of fruit and sugar. I am also pleased to see that you did not use jam sugar which is not necessary and also expensive. It alters the flavour and gives a rubbery consistency. I am a WI preserves judge and am dismayed by some of the recipes for ‘jam’ that appear in some recipe books and blogs/websites. The recipes are not balanced and the result will not keep well and possibly ferment.
    As for testing for a set, it comes with practise. There are 3 main methods, wrinkle test, flake test and temperature. I must say I use the wrinkle test but have preserving colleagues who swear by the flake test. Temperature is probably the least reliable, but do what you find the best. We all suffer from ‘set anxiety’ at one time and another!
    If you want a recommendation for a good book for learning how to make jam the correct way, look no further than Vivien Lloyd’s First Preserves for a traditional, no nonsense approach to preservation.
    Master the basics and you can progress to being quite adventurous in your flavour combinations. I do however think at times that there is a trend towards being different just for the sake of it and forgetting that you have to actually enjoy eating it time after time.
    A preserving colleague recently asked me to taste a marmalade she had bought in F&M in Picadilly. It had won double gold at the Marmakade Awards in Cumbria this year. It was dire. I cannot imagine anyone having that on their toast on a regular basis like you would a good Seville Orange Marmalade. I doubt your grandmother would have embraced that one! As I said at the beginning, our grandmothers knew best!
    Keep jamming!

    • August 11, 2015 / 8:58 am

      Thank you for your kind comments. I am so pleased it worked and it has inspired me to try some other kinds. I will definitely try the other ways for testing for a set next time, I am not sure about the flake test but will give the wrinkle test a try. I am definitely going to dig out some more of my granny’s recipes. My mum makes a lovely marmalade as well so I may try that next.

  2. August 11, 2015 / 9:08 am

    Oooo well done on your first jam making experience. Looks and sounds delicious. I still think it is an arcane magic – I’ll continue to buy mine from the local farm shop 🙂

  3. August 11, 2015 / 12:20 pm

    I didn’t realise that it was so easy to make jam, my Gran used to make it and we loved it!

    • August 13, 2015 / 9:13 am

      I was amazed it actually worked, I had visions of all sorts of disasters happening. It was really tasty as well

  4. August 11, 2015 / 10:14 pm

    I’m not a jam maker but I do make jellies. I use the cold plate test for the setting point.

    • August 13, 2015 / 9:11 am

      Jellies are still on my must try list. I shall have to try the cold plate test, I am just worried I will leave the plate in the freezer and it will break

  5. August 13, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    How wonderful that you have inherited a preserving pan from your grandma. I also prefer a granulated sugar in jam rather than jam sugar which has pectin. When a couple of years ago they published my jelly recipe in MFR magazine, they put the jam sugar as an ingredient. I was quite annoyed, especially that the quince jelly sets beautifully if you boil the fruit with the pips included.

    • August 17, 2015 / 9:01 am

      I did wonder about jam sugar but decided to just go along with the recipe. Glad I did now

  6. Sian {The Mama Story}
    August 16, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    Ah your jam looks fab – lovely consistency! I use my thermometer too though I used to do the “wrinkle test” before that.

    • August 17, 2015 / 8:56 am

      Thank you. I am definitely going to try the wrinkle test as well next time. I guess its just practice

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