I’ve been worried about the fact that I don’t seem to have enough jam preserved for the year. Once you’ve made your own jam, you never look back. I’ve no desire to ever pay for it again.
My CSA is flush in raspberries right now, so I thought, why not a raspberry jam? Wow! Am I ever happy I decided to make this jam. This is by far the best thing I have ever canned. The first spoonful was one of those moments where you close your eyes, tilt your head back, lick your lips, and imagine that this must be what heaven is like.
It probably sounds like I am exaggerating (which I admit, I tend to do) but I am not.
My son is always my first guinea pig when it comes to jams and jellies. I gave him a spoonful and he smiled wide. “I only want this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from now on.”
The next morning, as I was making his lunch for school, he told me he wanted a jelly sandwich. Nothing else. Just the jam. We negotiated on a thin layer of peanut butter, and lots of jam.
This is an easy jam to make, so hop to it while raspberries are still in season!
Raspberry Balsamic Jam
(makes eight 8-oz jars of jam)
8 cups raspberries
6 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 TBSP blueberry balsamic vinegar*
Put raspberries in a stainless steel saucepan and gently crush with a potato masher. Add sugar and let stand for one hour.
Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
Stir in lemon juice and blueberry balsamic vinegar*.
Boil rapidly, stirring often, for approximately 10 minutes (stoves may vary; my 1930′s Wedgewood gets very hot, very fast). Test for set point** and continue to boil another 5 minutes, if not ready.
Once you’ve removed the saucepan from the heat, stir and skim off any foam, if necessary.
Pour jam into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Use a butter knife or similar to run along the sides of the jar, removing air bubbles.
Wipe rim, center lid on jar, and add screw band to fingertip tight.
Process in a canner bath for 10 minutes at sea level, more depending on altitude or larger size of jar.
Remove canner lid and let jars rest for 5 minutes before removing from the water.
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them. Cool overnight. Once the jars have cooled, ensure they are sealed. Press down gently in the center of the lid. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. Put the jar in the refrigerator and enjoy it for the next 3 – 4 weeks. If the lid remains taut, you’ve got a good seal.
* Balsamic vinegar is wonderful paired with berries, which is why you often see raspberry balsamic glaze atop pork and other meats. You can’t taste the balsamic, per say, but it heightens the flavors of the berry. I happened to have blueberry balsamic (which I got from The Olive Bar in Campbell) and thought it would make for an interesting flavor. I was right! You can use regular balsamic in a pinch, but YUM, my heart definitely belongs to blueberry balsamic in this jam!
** Some people test for gel stage by scooping some of the jam, and letting it sit in the fridge for a minute. Some people are so experienced they just know. I have issues with the gel stage, so I rely on a candy thermometer. I got the PERFECT consistency by letting my raspberries get to 215 degrees F, then removing from heat. 220 degrees F is actually the gel stage, but I’ve found that if I go to 220 the jam continues to heat up and eventually becomes hard, which is a real shame after all of that work.
Cost: I paid $14 for a half flat of organic raspberries from my CSA. This amounted to 8 cups. I already had the other ingredients. Cost of jam was $1.75 per 8-oz jar.
Level of Difficulty: Beginner!
This recipe is a modified version of Ruby Red Raspberry Jam, from Well Preserved, 3rd edition.