Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Homemade Raspberry Jam

Photo credit: Waldord dot com
My youngest loves to jelly with his sausage and biscuit, but we don't have any. I went to the store, and noticed that all the jelly they had contained high fructose corn syrup, say what you will, I don't want it. However, a trip to Sam's Club landed me 12 ounces of beautiful raspberries, which I almost lost to my oldest.

I started looking for recipes and noticed that they all used sure jell, sorry, but reading various articles, and watching various documentaries has led me to not trust anything packaged in big stores. So, this led to more research on the ingredients in sure jell, and what they do. Turns out that fruit pectin is a natural ingredient contained in all fruits, and also what allows the jam or jelly to become firm.

While all fruits contain pectin some contain more than others, and you do not need to add pectin in order to make them, raspberries is just one of them that contains high levels of pectin. So, I set out to make some raspberry jam. First you need to mash up the raspberries this helps to release the pectin allowing for a better jam. In order to make a good jam you need three things acid, pectin, and sugar. Because raspberries are low in acid I add about four drops of lemon juice, which we all know contains high levels of acid.
photo credit: It's Your LIfe

It is important to not use a blender, mixer, or food processor when mashing fruits because it can disturb the pectin. After mashing my raspberries with a potato masher I had two cups of mashed raspberries. The recipe I was using called for 6 cups of fruit and 4 cups of sugar. I used 1 cup of sugar,

Photo credit: It's Your Life

 I put 1/2 cup in the raspberries, and put it in a pot on the stove, and brought it to a high boil. I have an electric stove, and set the heat to medium. During the boiling process you will notice a foam start to form, I found I could remove it easier by stirring the jam. Stirring caused the foam to gravitate to the edges, I than just took my spoon, and scrapped around it. I than removed the pot from the heat, and added the other 1/2 cup of sugar, and boiled it again, foam once again appeared, just remove it.

Photo credit: It's Your Life

 I let the jam sit hoping it would set nicely, but it was still too watery. I searched for a way to thicken it naturally, and found two ways I opted for the second option which was just to strain the liquid from the jam. Apples are very high in pectin, and you can added some shredded apple to aid in the thickening process however, I did not have any apples.

Photo credit: It's Your Life

As you can see from the image above 12 ounces of fruit does not yield a lot of jam however, this being my first experience making jam it is enough. As I strained it I used a spoon to mix the jam helping to make sure all of the unwanted liquid was removed. It did not take long for my 15 year old to make some toast to eat with my new creation. You can see from the image just how thick the jam turned out, guess I did good.

 Raspberry Jam

12 ounces organic raspberries

1 cup organic sugar

4 drops of lemon juice

I will be making more in the future, and feel more confident about making homemade jam. So, next time I will make more.

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