Back in 1993 I made my first batch of Raspberry Jam, possibly the easiest jam to make and a recipe I enjoy teaching now. It’s the perfect recipe for those new to preserving as its simplicity builds confidence in the maker and inevitably brings a smile to the face when the jam is tasted.
It introduces the principles of traditional jam making; gentle cooking of fruit, careful dissolving of sugar, a quick boil to a set and potting the jam correctly.
Raspberries have a long growing season through the summer months and some varieties are better than others for jam. Grow or look for the Autumn varieties, e.g Autumn Bliss for great flavour and rich colour. If fresh raspberries are not easy to find, frozen ones are sold online. Raspberries are medium pectin fruit and I find they do not need any additional help to set into jam other than sugar.
Once the fruit has been simmered gently for a few minutes to soften the raspberries and extract any pectin, I add an equal weight of granulated cane sugar. This is the best and only sugar to use when making Raspberry Jam. Reducing the weight of the sugar or using “Jam Sugar” will produce a different product compared to a traditional jam.
Setting the jam
As soon as the sugar has dissolved, the fruit and sugar mixture is brought to a rapid boil for a few minutes. Prolonged boiling is unnecessary and will affect the colour, consistency and flavour. Setting point is reached when a spoonful of the mixture, scooped out of the pan and held horizontally, suspends on the side of the spoon. This is commonly known as the flake test. Alternatively when the mixture reaches 104.5C the jam is usually set. Thermometers may vary in reliability, are a distraction therefore I recommend the flake test.
Once the jam has rested for a few minutes, remove and discard any surface scum with a metal spoon. Pour the jam into warmed new or re-cycled glass jam jars and seal immediately with new twist top lids. Leave the jars upright and undisturbed to set. As the jam cools an airtight vacuum is created between the surface of the jar and the underside of the lid. Do not add a waxed disc to the surface or invert the jars unless you want to interfere with the creation of a seal or find a sticky mess on the underside of the lid when you come to eat the jam.
As soon as the jam is cold and set in the jars it is ready to eat. The colour should be bright, the consistency gelled and the flavour a blend of fruit and sugar; real jam in a jar.
Raspberry Jam Recipe
1kg granulated, cane sugar
1.Place the raspberries in a large pan. Gently simmer the fruit for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile warm the sugar in a low oven, 140C/275F/Gas 1.
2. Remove the sugar from the oven. Add the sugar to the pan and stir until it has dissolved. Bring the jam to a rolling boil and boil hard until setting point is reached.
3. Test for a set after 4 minutes using the flake test. As soon as setting point is reached, remove the pan from the heat and leave it to stand for a few minutes. Push any scum from the surface of the pan to the side and remove it with a metal spoon.
4. Gently stir the jam and pour it into clean warm jars, up to the brim. Seal the jars immediately with new twist top lids. Leave the jars upright and undisturbed until cold.
Link to Bottle Company South