This simple jam has an intense raspberry flavor and requires no added pectin. You'll note that it has a lot of sugar added. The sugar is required for more than adding sweetness. It is the preservative element that extends the shelf life of the jam. It's also needed to gel the jam. If you reduced the amount of sugar, you would need to use pectin to get the jam to set up.
You can use fresh or frozen raspberries to make jam. In season, it's a great way to use your homegrown raspberries when they are producing a bumper crop. Or, you can buy them at the peak of the season at the farmers market. Look for very ripe raspberries as they will lend the most flavor to the jam. You don't want any underripe berries if you can avoid them.
Frozen raspberries are a good choice as they are often made with very ripe berries. You can find organic frozen berries at many supermarkets and warehouse stores.
The equipment you will need for this recipe includes a large pot, potato masher, canning jars and lids, and a water process canner or alternative. This is a small batch of 3 cups or half pints of jam.
- 4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Combine the raspberries and sugar in a large stainless steel or enameled pot. Cover and let them sit overnight. This maceration time releases the juices from the fruit and shortens the cooking time.
- Sterilize the jars by boiling for 10 to 15 minutes in a hot water bath. Prepare the canning lids according to their directions.
- Mash the fruit and sugar mixture with a potato masher to break up the berries.
- Place plate in the refrigerator to chill for the gel test.
- Bring the jam mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring often. It will foam up and expand, so expect that when you choose the size of the pot to boil in.
- If foam forms on the surface, skim it off with a metal spoon or skimmer. Continue to boil, stirring, until the mixture reaches the gel point. If you use a candy thermometer, this is around 215 F.
- Test your jam to see if it has gelled by taking a chilled plate, adding a spoonful of jam, placing it in the freezer for two minutes. When you take it out, it is properly gelled if it doesn't run down the chilled plate, and if you drag your finger through it the path remains intact.
- Ladle the jam into sterilized jars leaving 1/2-inch head space. Cover with canning lids and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
If you don't want to go through the canning process, you can simply refrigerate the jam or freeze it for your use.