Stuff and Nonsense: Homemade Raspberry Jam


Homemade Raspberry Jam

Buoyed by my success making strawberry jam, I turned my hand to raspberry. I followed the recipe for reduced sugar berry jam (raspberry or blackberry) in the booklet that came with my Ball freshTECH Automatic Home Canning System. According to Ball, the recipes included with the canning system were specifically formulated for it and should be foolproof. I'm new enough to canning that I'm happy to stick to official recipes and not experiment.

The only difference I could see between the traditional and low-sugar recipe was that the low-sugar recipe only used three cups of sugar, while the traditional used five. The amounts of berries and pectin were exactly the same. They both included the option of using a half teaspoon of butter, which I took because folkloric Internet wisdom told me it would stop the jam from foaming. While the jam did not foam, I am not sure that had anything to do with the addition of butter and will simply have to make more jams to test the butter's efficacy.

I don't mean this post to be an ad for the freshTECH canning system, but I do love mine a lot. Having grown up with stove top hot water canning, I like how little energy and effort the canning system requires. The house doesn't heat up or become muggy, I don't worry that things are not at the right temperature, or not at the right temperature long enough, and it uses much less water than the stove top canner. Most importantly: Every. Single. Jar. Sealed.

But, hey, if you're already using a big enamel stove top hot water canner and are comfortable with that method, then stick to it. Especially if you like to preserve large batches. The freshTECH can process three quart jars, four pint jars, or six half pints, which is fine for a small household, but I know some of us like to put up jams by the dozen. Mom, certainly, would not have wasted her time on such small batches.

(Also, the $299 list price is ridiculous. I was lucky enough to buy mine last autumn on clearance BJ's Wholesale Club for around $80. For an $80 appliance, it is an excellent value. If you're interested in buying one, I'd recommend using a price tracker and holding out until you find one priced around $100 or less).

The reduced-sugar raspberry jam is completely yum. Just sweet enough, boldly raspberry, nicely thickened but not gloppy. Pretty damn fine for my first raspberry jam. I've been spooning it into plain Greek yoghurt and granola for a simple, flavorful breakfast. It's also nice on a turkey sandwich with baby spinach, red onion, and spicy brown mustard. And, of course, there's always peanut butter and jam crackers.

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