Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The Real Deal & Raspberry Jam
Just around the corner from my house is a great little fruit and vegetable store that sells most of their fruits, vegetables and herbs for $ 1. 50 or less. I usually bring my beloved "granny cart" and walk out with a big haul--cart filled to the brim for less than 20 bucks. I can't even look at produce in traditional grocery stores anymore without feeling like I'm being robbed. Charging four times the price! Ugh. Going to that jewel around the corner, especially in the summer, for peaches and berries, lemons and limes, melons and lettuce, et al., has got to be one of my single most treasured joys in life. And one of the greatest things about living just outside of Boston Proper, in the real Boston; The true heartbeat of the city. Sans the pomp, circumstance and ungodly prices. Whether they're in-season or not, I can't pass up berries at 1 dollar a box, so when I came home with 5 boxes a few weeks ago, I thought it the perfect time to try my hand at jam making. The end result is something more vibrant, magical and lovely than even the best jam you can buy in the store. And a great way to reinvigorate out-of-season fruit.
Old-Fashioned Raspberry Jam
Recipe courtesy and Adapted from Epicurious
4 cups (1 liter) granulated sugar
4 cups (1 liter) raspberries
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Add sugar to shallow pan and place in preheated oven for 15 minutes. This step really helped the sugar to dissolve better.
2. Clean and dry large stainless steel or enamel pan. Add berries to pan. Allow berries to come to complete boil on high heat. Use potato masher to mash berries while they're heating, if desired. My berries fell apart on their own. Stir constantly as berries as berries come to a hard boil for 1 minute.
My notes: The original recipe advices against not reducing amount of sugar or changing cook time, Two things I did. After adding 3 cups of sugar, I tasted and found the berries very sweet, so I didn't add the 4th cup. As a precaution, I cooked the berries longer to help ensure they would gel properly.
3. Carefully add in warmed sugar (Again, I only used 3 cups). Stir. Return berries and sugar to boil. Boil sugar and berry mixture until gel begins to form, approximately 5 minutes. To test mixture for doneness, quickly insert then remove metal spoon into jam, flip spoon upside down; In the beginning, mixture will run down spoon thin and syrupy. A minute or two later, mixture will be thicker. Jam is ready when same test yields two thick drops more slowly running down spoon and coming together before falling off.
BE CAREFUL! Sugar gets very hot.
4. Carefully ladle jam into sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch between jam and top of jar.
To Sterilize Jars:
Add amount of jars needed for canning (In the case of this recipe, I used 4 half pint (8 oz.) jars), to large pot, cover jars with boiled water. Boil over high heat for 10 minutes. Add jar tops to smaller pot and bring to a gently boil for 7 minutes. Drain water and use very clean utensils or canning kit jar remover and magnet to remove jars and tops from water. When safe to handle, empty to dry jars. If you have a dishwasher with a "sterilize" setting, this can also be used to sterilize jars.
5. After ladling jam into sterilized jars, clean any jam from outside of jars and rim. Cover jars by placing center round on first. Push down middle of center round while screwing on the cover ring. Add jars of jam to large pot of boiling water; One large enough to hold jars and cover them with 2 inches of water. Boil for 6-7 minutes. Placing a small round cake rack in the bottom of pan before adding jars of jam stops them from rattling.
6. Use jar lifter to remove jars from water and allow to cool overnight in a place with no drafts. Once the jars have cooled, make sure the lids have sealed by pushing the center top of cover. If you hear a "popping" noise, jars have not sealed. If you refrigerate jar right away, it's still eatable, but do not store this jar outside of refrigerator. Properly sealed jars should store and remain fresh for several months.