Thursday, 10 July 2014

Raspberry Jam

Gentle Reader ~~~ raspberries galore means one of my most favourite jams is being made ~ the first batch of the season ~ in my kitchen this morning.

Usually, I pick small quantities of berries each morning and freeze them in small batches to make jam in the winter months ~~ this is a lovely thing to do during the dark, cold days of winter, when the winds are howling around the corners of my cottage, and the sun struggles to lift it's head out of bed, for it fills the cottage with the fragrant scents of summer berries and warmth, and gives something extra delicious to spread on toast or to fill a Victoria sponge.

I came to preserving several years ago when five courgette plants gave an incredible yield of fruits and that is when I found out how many people do not actually like courgettes {knock me down with a feather! I love courgettes!} and I could not give them away for love nor money.  I reckon that people who don't like courgettes have not had them properly cooked ~ they have had them as a watery mess either boiled {as I have seen some folks do, and I would not like them either} or in a badly made ratatouille {of which I ate my share in the 1980's} Now, don't get me wrong, I love ratatouille, but I like it a certain way and not full of overcooked, mushy vegetables.  More on that another time.  So, what to do with a glut of courgettes ~ even someone with my love of this fruit can only eat so many and it did not take long for my salad box to be overflowing.

Then, as serendipity would have it, I stumbled across a National Trust book that had a recipe for "Polesden Lacey's Courgette Chutney"  I'd never thought of preserving them, to be honest I thought there was a mystery beyond my ken for preserving.  The recipe looked easy enough, so I acquired a copy and off to my kitchen I went ~~ within a few hours I had made my first ever batch of chutney, my first ever attempt at making anything preserved at all.  I was over my mental block!  I put up jar upon jar upon jar that Autumn and suddenly I had no room in my kitchen store cupboards for anything else so I started, with a little trepidation, to give jars away.  I was anxious because I was giving this courgette chutney to people who did not like courgettes, and it was my first batch so it was up for judgement too!  To my immense relief everyone loved it!  Since then, it has become a big hit in my home made Christmas hampers that I give to friends and relatives too.  The rest as they say, is history.

These days, I make chutneys, pickles, jams, jellies, and all sorts of preserves.  My most favourite things to make are, naturally, preserving with things I grow myself.  I've invested in a proper preserving pan, I got mine from Lakeland Ltd, and they have a good range of preserving equipment.  Of course, other sources for supplies are available!

My recipe for jam is simple, and it is roughly the same whatever fruit I am using.  For every one pound of fruit use one pound of sugar.  How simple is that?

Here is my recipe for Raspberry Jam ~~

3lb of freshly picked, slightly under~ripe raspberries


3lb of sugar {I use preserving sugar which has added pectin to aid the setting}


You will need a preserving pan or large heavy bottomed saucepan, baking tray, sugar thermometer, ladle, wide mouth metal funnel {optional} sterilised jam jars and lids, wax paper lids {optional}, and labels.

  •  Pick the fruit over to remove any hulls and debris.  Place in a preserving pan and warm very gently to release the juices and cook the fruit ~ about 20 minutes.  

  • While this is happening, warm the sugar on a shallow tray in a low oven {this helps speed up the cooking time and ~hopefully~ stops the fruit breaking down so the jam has pieces of fruit in it}
  • Add the warmed sugar to the cooked fruit and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a rapid boil and boil until 'setting point' is reached.  I use a jam thermometer with the setting marked.



  • While the jam is reaching setting point, wash your jars and lids in warm, soapy water, rinse well and dry, and place on a baking tray in a low oven to sterilise the jars and lids.
  • When the jam is ready, allow to cool slightly before carefully ladling into the sterilised jars.  A wide mouth metal funnel is very useful for this.  Place a waxed paper disk {if using} on top of the hot jam to help create an airtight seal.  Place the lid on and lightly screw down, tightening fully when the jars of jam are cool enough to handle.

Oh, and it is a good idea to have a few spare plates on hand to catch all the drippy bits!  You can eat these later, on fresh, crusty bread ~ cook's perks!


  • Label with the date and store in a cool, dry place.  Jam can be eaten immediately, but is better after about a month to mature, and keeps for a year, or longer {it never lasts that long in this cottage}

As this batch is not for gifting, I used ordinary, recycled jam jars, but if giving as gifts use pretty or unusual jars, if you have them, and make hand~written labels and cloth covers for the lids and tie using pretty ribbon, raffia, or twine.



Remember ~~~ 




~~~A Gardener's Work Is Never Done~~~


15 comments:

  1. Hi Debs! It must smell just wonderful in your kitchen today!! I've never made preserves of any kind. So, I really enjoyed seeing the process. I never would have thought of warming the sugar! So much to learn! Another great post filled with goodness from the garden!! ♡ Email on the way...

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    1. Hello there! It is also very sticky! I cleaned up all the spills before I took the photographs ~ hahaha! I used to live in fear of preserving, but it is just *so* easy! You just have to read your recipe and trust what it says and what you are doing. Once you've done one thing it just takes off! Waving from Across The Pond!

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  2. Hello Debs!
    Such a great post! Thanks for the step by step instructions. I never tried warming the sugar before. It's nice to learn something new!

    We are pretty warm here right now, but a cool down is on the way for next week. I can't wait!! To be able to work outside without sweating is pure heaven! Take care!

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    1. Hello Darlene, dear friend! I just wanted to de~bunk the myth that I thought preserving was hard. It isn't at all, and it is so rewarding to make something so delicious from what you grow yourself. Have since found out that, in America, you process food using a water bath? Hope you get busy, busy, busy next week. Email me some photos, please? Debs xoxo

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  3. Hello Debs dear! Why I have never visited your blog before is beyond me! I just saw a post on Twitter and followed it here. You have such a wonderful way to paint a picture with words! Like a breath of fresh air!

    You really do it all! I so envy your gardening prowess and now you preserve and can and pickle! I have never made jam before. Last ywar for the first time I tried making dill pickles but they turned out so sour. I followed my mom's direction but she may have told me wrong. I may get it right one day....doesn't seem too difficult!

    Thanks for the fun picture into your jam-making day! Hugs from across the Pond! xo

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    1. Hello Karen! Welcome ~ I'm so pleased you like my little blog and page. Once you get the hang of it, preserving is so easy! I'm muddling along this year, doing what I can, with plans for starting the changes in the Autumn. Watch this space! Waving from Across The Pond ~ Debs xoxo

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  4. Oh! And had to look up what courgettes are. Appears to be just like what we call zucchini. We LOVE zucchini in our family. :)

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    1. The Italian name is zucchini, French is courgette ~ so far my favourite one is Romanesco, which has a dark and deeply ridged skin against a rich creamy yellow flesh, and looks amazing when sliced in rings because of the ridges. D~
      p.s. aubergine is eggplant :)

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  5. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog! I love raspberry jam. I never made it though.

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    1. Hello! You really should try it ~ it is very easy and tastes so much better than store bought and it makes wonderful gifts!

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  6. In the USA, we also call them zucchini. The raspberry preserves look delicious and as soon as mine are ripe, I'll fight the animals for enough for jam. It's encouraging when others preserve and can; I've been doing it for almost 50 years and love it...especially in winter when it's time to eat the produce.
    You have a lovely blog and I think I came here via your comment at Susan Branch's blog...I think. -smile-

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    1. Hello ~ thank you for stopping by and your kind comments ~ I've made a lot of good friends through Susan Branch's blog despite the many miles between us all ~ she is infectious!
      Preserving brings me so much pleasure, and I've since writing this found out that in America you process very differently using a water bath! I love learning new ways.
      I willingly write off around 5% for them for they do bring pleasure in so many ways and they need to eat too!
      Waving from Across The Pond!

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  7. Your raspberry jam looks lovely, I always love seeing homemade preserves, they look so pretty in their little glass jars! I have really got to learn how to do that my self one day! I especially want to learn chutneys, they always sound so delicious, how interesting to make one from zucchini, I may have to look up a recipe for that when they are ready to harvest this summer. Today we will be picking our blueberries, but they always get consumed before they could ever make it into a jam, the kids have already been discussing the desire for a blueberry pie! :) Have a great week! :)

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    1. You know, it is so much easier than you think! I was terrified and that stopped me for years, now I can see and taste what I was missing out on! Oh, blueberries ~ I am yet to harvest a good crop, doing something wrong, but learning. Have a wonderful week, I'm sure your lovely children will enjoy that pie! Waving :)

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  8. Arline in So. Cal15 July 2014 at 17:47

    Hello Deborah - enjoyed your blog after I found it following a link from Susan B.'s page. You've done a great job and I look forward to reading it going forward. Although we are from Southern California, just returned from a drive up the coast to Susan's West Coast presence in Arroyo Grande. We certainly miss her store up there. The farmer's market was going strong and I bought boxes of raspberries and will try your method for a 1/2 batch today. All the best, Arline

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments