I’m not sure who I am writing this post for, myself or the people who read this blog! I love raspberry jam so I’m eager to write this information down for myself, but I also think it will be super helpful for lots of other people as well!
I love raspberry jam, and in my opinion, there is absolutely no comparison when it comes to homemade vs. store-bought. Homemade always wins!!!! Every year when it comes to raspberry season, my mom pulls out all the jars, checks our stock of par0wax and buys a flat of raspberries (that’s 12 pints!) to make jam. This year I decided to document the experience so that I would have a record for myself and future generations on how to make this most amazing jam.
The tips and techniques used here come from my great-grandmother whose recipe we still use to this day. Well actually, it’s not so much of a recipe as a ratio, but we’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about the fundamentals of jam making.
1. You need to buy your raspberries on the day they were picked.
We go straight to the farm to buy ours, but I imagine a farmer’s market would work as well as long you talk to your supplier about when the berries were picked. You need to do this because as raspberries sit they lose the natural pectin they contain which allows the jam to thicken.
2. Don’t buy raspberries if it has rained the day before, or even two days before.
When it rains water gets absorbed by the berries causing the jam to contain far more water and juice than you want, resulting in a runny jam.
3. Do not wash your berries before making the jam
It doesn’t matter if you wash all your other fruit, you don’t want to wash your berries when making jam for the same reason you don’t want to buy them the day after it’s rained. Just pick out any obvious leaves or debris and mash them, then when you’re boiling the jam you will kill any bacteria or other things you don’t want in your jam.
4. If you follow all these steps you can add more mashed berries to sugar than called for.
For example, the normal ratio is 1 cup of mashed berries to 1 cup of sugar. If you’ve followed all the above steps you can use about 1 and 1/4 cups berries to 1 cup of sugar.
Hopefully, these tips help! I know they have been working for my family for generations, and the finished product is worth every bit of work and stickiness!!! Good luck jam making:)
Homemade Raspberry Jam
Berry or Granulated Sugar
Very clean Mason Jars
Paraffin Wax (This can be found in the canning section of your grocery store.)
In a bowl, mash berries in stages, using a fork until the berries are completely mushed but not completely liquid. (See pictures). Your mashed berries should look a lot like slightly runny raspberry jam.
***At this point you can strain your mashed berries to remove any seeds, but my entire family enjoys the seeds so we don’t do this. Just make sure you measure your mashed berries after you have strained them.
We used 9 heaping cups of mashed berries and 9 cups of sugar. You can use any number of cups though, matched with the same amount of sugar.
Place raspberries and sugar into a large pot. Make sure you leave about 4-6 inches of room at the top of the pot because the mixture will seriously expand when it starts to boil.
Over low-medium heat, slowly bring the raspberry and sugar mixture to a boil. Don’t try and boil it too fast or you’ll burn the bottom. You want to achieve a vigorous boil, with large bubble coming to the surface before you set a timer. It may take 20-30 minutes to get to this vigorous of a boil if you’re making a large batch. Boiling will make sure any bacteria is killed off before you jar your jam.
Once the mixture has come to a vigorous boil, set the timer for 5-6 minutes, and continue to boil.
When mixture is finished boiling, ladle it into clean jars leaving about 1/4 inch at the top. Allow to cool until you can’t see steam rising out of the jars anymore.
Meanwhile, melt paraffin wax in a double boiler (We literally put a smaller pot with the wax in it, into a larger pot of boiling water to achieve this). When the wax has completely melted pour 1/8 inch onto semi-cooled jam in each jar. Allow wax to cool.
Melt more wax, and pour another 1/8 inch layer onto each jar of jam. Make sure that the jam is completely covered with a layer of wax as this is what will keep it preserved. Screw on lids and you’re done!!!!
Yield: 9 heaping cups of berries= 13 jars of jam