A couple weeks ago, Mr. M and I went raspberry picking at a local farm. We returned home with 18 pounds of raspberries. We froze over half of them and saved the rest to snack on. Still, we couldn’t finish all the ones we left unfrozen, so I thought to make jam out of them.
Now, I must warn you that I have never in my life made jam before.
So, what’s a beginner to do? I scoured the Internet for some easy recipes and decided to use this one from Jamie Cooks It Up. I didn’t follow Jamie’s instructions for sterilizing and canning as Mr. M thought it best to err on the safe side and boil the jars. I adjusted the sugar content according to taste. I think that if I had used all 7 cups of sugar as stated in Jamie’s recipe, we would be gagging over how sweet the jam is. I started with 6 cups and then added sugar a teaspoon at a time until it was the right amount of sweetness for us. I suggest you do the same as well.
Overall, it was fairly easy to do, but I was so nervous that I was going to screw it up somehow that I kept monitoring the pots and reading the recipe over and over that my hands-on time spent on this recipe probably doubled more than necessary. Plus, I wasn’t sure how this pectin worked, so I kept watching the pot expecting my raspberries to magically thicken up as soon as I dropped in the crystals. Nuh-uh. Will provide tips after the instructions.
Beginner’s tips to keep in mind:
- Adjust sugar content according to your personal taste. The tartness of the raspberries will affect the recipe every time.
- If you screwed up and added too much sugar, squeeze in some lemon juice to bring back in the tartness; again, just a little at a time until you get it right.
- If you’re afraid of the raspberries splashing out of the pot and onto your face or arm, just turn down the heat.
- 500mL = 1 pint = 2 cups
- Keep jars in boiling water until you’re ready to can.
- If you don’t have a pot big enough to cover the height of the jars, it’s fine to lay the jars on their sides. You may have to boil the jars in a couple of batches, though.
- Don’t forget to skim the foam off the top of the jam before pouring in the jars. I did this even after adding the butter, just to be safe.
- The consistency of the jam will still be very syrupy when you go to pour, but trust that this will thicken up as soon as 6-8 hours later. Just follow the boiling instructions according to the package.
- The “pop” of the lids that indicate the jar is vacuum sealed is VERY loud. If you haven’t been scared off by a sound like a gun shot, the lids are not sealed yet. I had to wait more than 15-20 minutes before hearing them pop.
- The jars are HOT coming out of the water baths. Handle with care.
- Use the leftover boiling hot water to kill weeds in your yard; or let cool completely and water your plants or wash the dishes.
This recipe was actually quite easy! Now that I know what I’m doing, I’ll definitely be trying it again. Have you made jam before? Let me know of any tips I might have missed!
Total time: Honestly, it took me 3 hours from start to finish. (Finish being waiting for the popping sound.) It really shouldn’t have taken me that long, but I was nervous that I was doing it all wrong, so I kept reading and re-reading all the instructions. Next time, I’m sure I’ll be able to do such a small batch in half the time.
Total cost: I don’t exactly know how many pounds of raspberries I used to make this, but I’m going to guess it was about two pounds. Each pound of hand picked raspberries was $1.75 from the farm. The sugar was $5.87 and the pectin was $1.18. Jars were 6.47 for 12. Total cost of all five jars of jam was $11.09 or $2.22 per jar.
**All canning jar labels courtesy of Lia Griffith. Thanks for creating such lovely labels, Lia!
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