Raspberry Jam

One spring day when I was a little girl, my father took me over to a local farm to help him pick up some manure for his vegetable garden. Always quick to observe the details of his surroundings, he immediately noticed a white plastic bucket containing six or seven bare twigs in a corner of the farmyard. Upon inquiry, he learned that these twigs were the seemingly dead remnants of a raspberry patch somewhere on the property and were ours for the taking.

We brought them home, stuck them in the ground, and for the next 10 or 15 years enjoyed an ever-growing bounty of the most perfectly delicious red raspberries I have ever tasted. My mother always made jam throughout the summer and we’d then enjoy it the rest of the year. This is the simplest jam—and also one of the best.–Rachel Saunders

LC The Perfect Pan for Preserves Note

As the author of the much ballyhooed—and deservedly so—The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook explains, it takes a very large pan to make even a relatively small batch of preserves. Reason being, in order for the jam to have a spreadable consistency when cool, a large quantity of moisture must be cooked out of them. Yet in order for the fruit’s original flavor to remain intact, the preserves need to be over heat for as little time as possible. As a consequence, a wide pan is essential, as it allows a maximum of evaporation to occur in a minimum of time. If you decide to make a larger batch, bear in mind the moisture to be eliminated is directly proportional to the quantity of fruit used, so it would, in theory, need to be cooked for a much longer time. To ensure you do not compromise the quality of the preserves, you may want to make a couple small batches rather than a single large one.

Raspberry Jam Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 25 M
  • Makes five 8-oz jars

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds red raspberries
  • 3 pounds white cane sugar

Directions

  • 1. Place a saucer and five metal teaspoons in a flat place in your freezer for testing the jam later. Have ready a medium-mesh strainer or chinois suspended over a heatproof bowl.
  • 2. Combine the berries and sugar in an 11- or 12-quart copper preserving pan or a wide nonreactive pot. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring and mashing constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the juice begins to run from the berries. As soon as the sugar dissolves, increase the heat to high. Continue to cook, stirring very frequently, until the mixture boils. Boil the mixture vigorously for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Best to begin testing for doneness after 10 minutes.
  • 3. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the heat and carefully transfer a scant half teaspoonful of jam to one of your frozen spoons. Return the spoon to the freezer for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove and carefully feel the underside of the spoon. It should be neither warm nor cold; if still warm, return it to the freezer for a moment. Tilt the spoon vertically to see whether the jam runs; if the jam does not run, and if it has thickened to a near-jelly consistency, it is done. If the jam runs, return the pan to the stove and cook the mixture for another few minutes, stirring and testing again as many times as needed.
  • 4. Using a stainless-steel spoon, skim any remaining foam from the surface of the preserve. If you don’t mind seeds in your jam, skip ahead to step 5. If you prefer seedless jam, quickly transfer the jam to the mesh strainer and force as much of the preserve as possible through it by pressing on it with the back of the spoon. Discard the seeds. Skim any foam that lingers on the surface of the strained jam.
  • 5. Pour the jam into sterilized jars and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
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Comments
Comments
  1. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Alexander Cowan] I love Rachel Saunders and The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. Her approach is simple, straightforward, and, of course, delicious. If you’ve ever been afraid of making jam, this is the recipe for you! Berries and sugar, that’s it. No pectin or thickening agents. I even went a step further and canned my bounty using Rachel’s oven-canning method. Words of advice, do not overprocess the jam or you’ll have a serious mess on your hands! Otherwise this rich and jammy jam is simply perfect on toast, ice cream, between layers of luscious cake, or by the spoonful, especially in your jammies at midnight eating the jam straight from the jar. It really doesn’t get much better—or easier—than this.

  2. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Robert] The color of the jam was beautiful, the texture excellent, the taste good, and the spreading factor good. My yield seemed to be about a third short, but when I weighed the seeds that I left out, I had the exact yield amount.

  3. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Trista Crossley] This recipe delivers jam that isn’t too sweet and still tastes like fresh fruit! Even a first-time jammer will be successful thanks to the quick cooking time, few ingredients and easy instructions in this recipe. I halved the recipe and used my largest skillet. I started testing the jam at six minutes and pulled it off the heat at nine minutes. The only criticism I have is that I wished there had been a warning about the mixture bubbling up as it boiled.

  4. microwave jam says:

    i’m a big fan of barbara kafka’s brilliant book, microwave gourmet, from which book i learned to use the microwave for making jam. the microwave gives you the rapid evaporation, and no fuss. is there any point at all to making small quantities on the stovetop?

    • David Leite says:

      Personally I prefer the stovetop method, as I can more precisely control the heat, lowering or raising it depending on the amount of water in the fruit. But it’s really a matter of preference. If microwave canning works for you, then stick with it.

  5. manuela says:

    Well, to test doneness I usually pour a little of the jam on a saucer and place in the freezer. Some minutes later I take it out and pass the finger through the jam. If it opens a path (‘fazer estrada’), it’s done.

    I’m sure you know this method, so I’d like to know your opinion about it. Isn’t it accurate?

    Lately I use another method for jams. Intermitent boiling (10/15 minutes) followed by a long cooling/evaporating period, maybe overnight. More boiling, another resting period, etc., until done. It takes a little time (though no surplus work) but the jam results brighter and with a more ‘fruitful’ flavour. And when you use the whole fruit, like figs, they absorb the syrup better, without overcooking.
    Thank you for reading.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      My grandmother used that saucer method, Manuela, and that’s what I still use. So yes, I dare say it’s accurate. As with so many things pertaining to cooking, there is no single way, and definitely no right or wrong way. The above technique in this recipe is the author’s way and it works for her and I respect that. But between you and me, next time I make preserves, I’ll still rely on a saucer. I think you will, too. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Amy Iacopi says:

    Amazing stuff. Simple and perfect. Can’t wait to try with plain European-style yogurt, vanilla ice cream, PB&J sandwiches, and lemon bread!

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