Jam Making Part One – Homegrown, Homemade Raspberry Jam

Grow your own raspberries

The raspberries ripened recently (try saying that in a hurry!) so after enjoying a few homegrown-homemade apple and raspberry crumbles, I have been picking the ripe and slightly under-ripe fruits daily for the last few days in preparation for my first ever go at jam making. I’ve been freezing the raspberries each day that I’ve been picking them, and have about enough for 4 jars of jam to start me off. Once I’ve found my feet with jam making I’ll be more inclined to make a bigger batch. Small steps.

I recently found a maslin pan half price at John Lewis, and as it was after pay day I seized the opportunity to get a good quality pan for jam making, preserves and maybe even a few chutneys. Who knows what the future holds!

John Lewis maslin pan

I’ve had my Polka raspberry bushes in for about four years now, and they’re doing very well. They’re an autumn fruiting raspberry that fruit in their first year, so the same year that I planted in the canes, I was able to enjoy the large, fat fruits. They’ve fruited successfully every year since, even when the summer has been a bit dismal and perpetually wet. This summer has delivered on the fruit front and we currently have lots of raspberries still left to fruit, as well as a bumper crop of crab apples. So I’m almost set (jam pun not intended)!

Top Jam Making Tips

I’ve been doing my research ahead of my jam making, and here are a few tips that I’ve found:

  • For a jam to be considered as ‘proper jam’ it needs to have over 60% sugar content
  • Raspberries and other berries can be set with sugar jam (which includes pectin to help the jam set, but apparently it can made a pretty ‘solid’ consistency!)
  • Crab apples have a high pectin content, so are perfect for helping jam to set. We have plenty of crab apples that we can use, so I will be opting for this free jam sugar alternative in the future! There seems to be a lot of debate around this so might take a little experimentation…
  • Jam setting point is 104.5°C. Some jam making stalwarts might not need a thermometer, but I’ll be using one to reduce the likelihood of a failed batch!

I’ll keep you updated on the progress this weekend… wish me luck. This could be the start of a new venture into jams and preserves for me… at least, I hope so!

Fresh raspberries frozen

See how my raspberry jam turned out and get my easy raspberry jam recipe here.

 

Comments

  1. I haven’t made jam for a couple of years, but I’ve never had a thermometer to use! Having said that, I learnt from my grandma when I was about eight and I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever forget

    • I’m hoping it’ll stick (no pun intended) once I get into it. My cousin has made some really good marmalade and jam making has long been on my to do list. Found a maslin pan that I could afford so off I go 🙂

  2. My boyfriend’s parents make plum jam which is delicious, I think homemade jam is so much better! Good luck with your Jam making!

    L x

    • My mum’s friend makes something called ‘ditch jam’ – sounds repulsive but is just a smogasboard of autumn berries from hedgerows and is gorgeous! Looking forward to it, thank you 🙂

  3. I’ve found the jam sugar can set a jam VERY solidly, even though I only ever use part jam sugar, part normal sugar. I’ve found it a bit of a lottery as to how much I should use. Raspberry jam is one of my favourites, the flavour is like nothing else. Wonderful. I shall look forward to seeing how you get on. CJ xx

    • Yes I’ve read that too and really glad I didn’t use it in the end… next blog post is just about to go up and it was a stonking success 🙂

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