When I started this blog, seven years ago, I really wanted to be able to make my own jams, chutneys and preserves. I had grown up with a very capable grandmother who made mountains of jams and preserves, and because of her war-time ethos of never, ever throwing anything away, she had cupboards rammed and stacked with marmalades, chutneys and probably cousins’ latest offerings of runner bean wine and the like. They always fascinated me and I naturally assumed that as soon as I was able to grow my own food, I would be able to turn my harvests into all manner of spiced chutneys, sticky jams and pickled produce.
As I mentioned in my jam making part one post, after seven years I finally got around to being able to buy a decent preserving/maslin pan. My first foray into jam making would be with my own homegrown raspberries. This was always the dream. Homegrown, and homemade. And I made it so.
Using a Women’s Institute recipe from my Jams, Chutneys and Preserves book, I opted for a no-pectin approach. So no jam sugar, just cheaper British-grown granulated sugar, the juice of one lemon, and a whole lot of homegrown Polka raspberries. I opted for a 1:1 ratio of picked fruit to sugar. Technically jam should be 60% sugar content, but mine set extremely well, so I’m calling it jam.
With free homegrown raspberries, the cost of the lemon and sugar came to about 95p and produced 3 1/2 jars of jam. So pretty frugal (and tastes better than Bonne Maman).
Here’s my easy raspberry jam recipe that I used. No thermometers, no fuss:
Easy Raspberry Jam Recipe
1lb granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon
knob of butter (I use vegan Pure sunflower spread and it was fine)
Recycled jam jars, sterilised*
Saucer, chilled in the fridge
Jam funnel or ladle and pouring jug
1. Sterilise the jam jars by washing in warm, soapy water and drying off in an oven that is set on a low temperature. Leave the jam jars in the oven until just a few minutes before you are ready to pour in the hot jam.
2. Put all the fruit in the maslin pan and heat up (do not boil!) so that all the juice seeps out of fruit.
3. Once the juice has been extracted from the fruits in the pan, take off the heat and add in the lemon juice and sugar. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
4. Put the mixture back onto the heat and bring to a vigorous boil for at least 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Take out your jam jars and line them up close to the jam pan to make pouring easier and more efficient.
5. After 5 minutes, take out your chilled saucer from the fridge and do the set test – dollop a little of your jam mixture onto the plate and leave for one minute. If the jam sets a little and wrinkles slightly on the surface, your jam is ready. If not, boil for a little longer… but be careful, overboiling will take you past the setting point so do a set test frequently. The jam will stay fairly liquid-like in the pan even when pouring, so don’t worry if it seems a little thin.
6. Once you have reached setting point, quickly take the jam off the heat and add a knob of butter (Pure sunflower spread is fine for vegans like me) and stir in to remove the “scum” (this is the frothy air bubbles formed during boiling, that are just removed for aesthetic purposes!).
7. Whilst the jam is still hot (careful!), pour the mixture into the jars. It will begin setting quickly so this has to be fast but precise work. I don’t have a jam funnel yet so ladled the jam into a gravy jug (anything with a pour lip will do) and poured in this way. Screw the lids on each jar straight away and leave to cool.