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Monday, October 31, 2011

Red Raspberry Jam

Seems like this was a good year for raspberries. This might just be my perspective because it is the first year I've sought them out in quantity. I thought I might have to go to a you-pick farm, which actually sounds kind of fun. But, the universe contrived to provide me with raspberries easily and affordably. My first batches were early summer fruits that I found at Costco. Remarkably, they were both local and organic. This is one of the great things about living in an agricultural area. Recently, fall raspberries came in and Safeway had them from the same grower at buy one, get two free. These were not organic, but were still local, and I couldn't resist. 

Raspberries are so special and jewel-like. They are Mr. Dwayne's favorite flavor for jam and desserts. One of my co-workers told me about a raspberry/chipotle dipping sauce he had at a local restaurant. He explained this sauce with a convincing amount of rapture on his face. I thought I would experiment with a spicy raspberry jam, but Mr. Dwayne said, "Awe...Don't **** with the raspberries!" Because they are so precious and special in themselves, I bowed to his wishes and made the jam straight-up. (I can always whip up a little chipotle sauce with the jam later!)

This jam is super easy and these berries have enough pectin to set dependably. If you are a beginner, raspberries may be the perfect place to start. You will obtain spectacular results with a minimum of effort.

Red Raspberry Jam
3 lbs. red raspberries, washed and picked over
3 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Prepare 6 half-pint jars and lids and prepare the boiling water bath. Place several spoons on a saucer in the freezer.

Add the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice to a large pot. (I love my 8 quart pot.) Stir to combine and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring frequently, until the foam subsides and the jam begins to look glossy. (About 220 degrees, if using a thermometer.) Use one of the spoons from the freezer to scoop out a small amount of jam. Place it back in the freezer and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. If the jam does not run off the spoon easily, mounds up when pushed and tastes good, you are there.

Remove the jam from the heat. Remove any foam and stir for a few minutes to distribute fruit. Carefully ladle into prepared jars. Wipe rims and top with lids. Process in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Once the jam has processed 10 minutes, turn off the heat and wait for the water to settle down. Carefully remove the jars to a towel lined tray. Do not be tempted to tip off the water! Let cool over night. Check seals and label the next day.

My experience with this jam is that it will solidify over the next few days. I don't mind a soft set and often estimate by eye and taste. When I opened up a jar of this jam several weeks later, it scooped and spread as well as any commercial jam.

Makes 6 half-pints.

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