Whole Parenting Family

Raspberry Jamberry: Make It, Can It, Love It

My sister Bridget is a fan of home canning. If you can seal it into a glass container with a lid, she’ll do it. I photo blogged our latest raspberry jam exploits. Two ladies, good music, delicious snacks, and an afternoon jamming.

Her supplies: a Ball canning recipe, lemons, apples, raspberries, and lots of patience and sugar.

She doesn’t use commercial pectin because it’s the devil, well, almost.

It’s really bitter, so you have to use a lot more sugar in the jam. If you use a high pectin fruit as the base, you can use less sugar. If you start with homemade apple sauce as the base, you won’t have such a problem for it to “set.” The speediest ingredient is commercial pectin, though it’s not ideal because with it, you must add a ton more sugar to the recipe. Jam already has a ton of sugar. Better to not add more if you don’t have to. Especially if you’re going to feed it to a little one like SuperBoy.

Setting is jam-like and goopy. The old test is if it will stick to the back of the spoon. Bridget prefers the test of dropping jam on a cold plate, and then assess whether it’s still runny or it sets up well.

You can make jam with just the raspberries and no apples. But it might take an extra HOUR of stirring.

“We are not crazy people. We did not actually buy a survival sack of sugar. Our friend did. Then he moved.”

Detailed directions:

Coarsely chop 5 Granny Smith apples, keeping the cores, just removing the stems & leaves.

Rinse & finely chop 1 lemon.

Combine in a stock pot over high heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil. Boil until very soft. Pay attention to the apples such that they can go through the food mill easily. Once ready, portion into food mill (which is happily situated over a no-skid bottom bowl) and grind it out. You’re making a very bitter applesauce. When you’re done, there will be scraps, and don’t worry if it looks like a lot of them.

Meanwhile, in the oven, which is heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, place the jam jars on their sides on the oven racks. What people usually do is to prepare the jars in boiling water for like an hour needing refills. Bridget’s prefers the oven technique as it saves effort and still brings the jars to boiling temperature.

Apples & raspberries are fresh in different seasons. The raspberries were frozen as they were from the farmer’s market. Bridget rinses the raspberries & pats them dry and lets them dry on the counter, picking through any leaves and bugs, before bagging & tagging 4 cups worth.

Add 5 cups sugar, lemon/apple sauce, and raspberries into stockpot on stove. Heat on high to melt berries, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil, then boil for 20 minutes. Stir continuously with an oven mitt on your arm, and stand back. This is a mean boil. It will splatter. All over your bare feet. So watch out.

Meanwhile, on the other burner, fill up your canner such that there will be an inch above the top of your jars. Bring this to a boil.

Remove jars from the oven. Get out your stainless funnel & fill them up. Don’t worry about being precise with the 1/4 inch headroom because you can clean up later. You gotta move quickly to get the jam out of the stockpot before it continues to cook and get stuck to the bottom. This is time sensitive. Use a tiny spatula to get the airbubbles out. Sweep it down the sides gently.

Meanwhile, wipe the rims with a wet paper towel.  It’s important to remove any sticky bits which would prevent a proper seal.

Bring that small pot to boil, then turn off. This is for activating your heat sensitive rubber. The lids should only be used once. Drop them in and let the water work its magic. The water should be at a simmer.  Use the lid lifting wand and place the lids on the tops. Put the ring lids on the jars. Use the gripper to steady the hot jars as you finger-tighten the rings. Use the lifter to place the jars in the canner.

Since she also pressure-cans, this happens to be a pressure canner. You can also use those for boiling-water canning. Jam is a high-acid food, so it doesn’t need pressure canning. For low-acid foods, you need to get the center of the jar to 240F, which obviously can’t be done in a water bath.

Set the timer for 10 minutes once the water is at a boil. We are at 900 feet above sea level. Most canning books are written for at sea level.

When done, lift it out without tipping the jars. Listen for the happy popping sound that means your jars have sealed. If any don’t seal in the first hour or so, they probably won’t. Store that one in the fridge and use it first.


I did. Quite a bit, actually.