Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fruit Jams: not just for P, B and J sandwiches anymore

Have you been harvesting from your garden or shopping your local farmer's market for fresh fruits and vegetables? As soon as my favorite fruit farm opened with this summer's bounty I headed straight over to stock up on my supply of fresh fruits and vegetables to makes jams and pies as well as to freeze for the winter as much as we weren't able to consume now.
One of the first things I made was my very favorite recipe for Raspberry and Strawberry jams. Once the canning process was complete I wanted some labels for my jars so I can present some as gifts. SERENDIPITY STAMPS has a new canning jar stamps that I thought fit the bill perfectly. You can find this stamp at Serendipity stamps HERE. I stamped the image, added a few touches of color with Copic markers and Stickles glitter and then used my Nestibilities oval and scalloped oval dies to cut out and tie to the jar with some kitchen twine.
I made Raspberry and Strawberry jams.
What? You say you aren't a fan of jam? But jam is not just for peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Oh no! My yummy raspberry jam makes a perfect spread and topping on brie and crackers. Brie and raspberry spread: a delicious treat for a hot summer afternoon treat. My strawberry jam is also excellent on brei or any soft cheese but I do admit that raspberry is my favorite.
I will also admit that I do love to have a good old fashioned peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich. Yummmmm.

So with my bounty of fruits from the local fruit market I headed home ...
... and brought up the canning jars and lids from the basement. Next, I washed them thoroughly and sterilized the jars.
Does the big, black enamel canning pot intimidate you and make you equate it with W+O+R+K ?
Don't let it. It is really fun to can and quite easy too. It isn't something only your mother and grandmother did. Give it a try and you'll be happy you did.
So after you've prepared your jars by cleaning and sterilizing them it is time to cook the fruit. If our computers allowed you to smell the aromas from the photos you'd be smelling the most wonderful raspberry scent filling your senses. Oh it is heavenly! Truly!
My recipe for jams is an old fashioned jam that does not require you to use pectin. Though adding pectin does aid in the process of jams to "gel" it is not required for a jam to gell up. In fact, if you add pectin you probably need to add more sugar to your recipe which diminishes the intense fruit flavor a bit. So after boiling the raspberries and sugar you are soon ready to fill the jars and place them in the hot water bath method of canning. Just be sure you do NOT boil the sugar and fruit any longer than 6 minutes. If you do, once your jam is finished it will be more like gummy fruit candy rather than jam. Another indication that you do not need to add pectins.
In a few short minutes the jars are processed and you remove them, allow them to seal and cool off undisturbed for 24 hours. Then you are ready to label and store and enjoy the fruit in the year to come.
The recipe makes six or seven 1/2 pint jars. I made both Raspberry and Strawberry jams.

Would you like to give it a try? Here is the recipe I use for what I consider to be the best homemade fruit spread:

Raspberry Jam

4 cups (1 liter) granulated sugar
4 cups (1 liter) raspberries

1. Place sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 15 minutes. (Warm sugar dissolves better.)
2. Place berries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add warm sugar, return to a boil, and boil until mixture will form a gel, about 5 minutes.
4. Ladle into sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes.

NOTE: I think the tip in the first step, i.e. to warm the sugar first, really is very helpful in the process for the sugar to dissolve better.

I'm going to enjoy the plate of brie and raspberry jam now. It has been waiting for me to finish typing this post and it is calling my name!




  1. Looks yummy! I've never made my own jam...... : (

  2. Oh this looks delicious - we were so over-run by our own raspberry bushes that in one weekend I froze 24 cups for making jam when I have the time! I'll be sure to give your recipe a try!

  3. Such an easy recipe! I'll give it a try. My taste buds are already on overload at the thought! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Yum! I nearly licked the computer screen I was so taken with the jam and bree. I've had trouble getting my strawberry jam to set this year so might try your recipe instead. Hope you're all well. Helen xx

  5. Oh, YUM!!! You are just AMAZING! Wanna be my neighbor and test your treats on me?? AND we could stamp together.

  6. YUM. I made homemade strawberry jam one summer many many years ago. The family ate it up in a short few weeks as we had it on everything but my fave was pancakes. Now I am HUNGRY! The jars are dressed so pretty. TFS your time and effort into this and other posts. You rock my friend. xo

  7. I made jam too but your jars are far prettier than my unlabeled jars of blueberry jam. I'm hoping to make hot pepper jelly next.

  8. looks delicious - im just waiting for all the brambles to come out, i think in the next 3 weeks or so i will be able to pick, make jam (and butties) and freeze ! i cant wait as it will be my first time making jam, got to get some jam jars over the next 3 weeks them im ready, in the mean time in the process of making rag dolls !


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