August 28, 2016
Making Raspberry Jam
One day, Aidan was craving pretzels. I told him we weren’t going out to the store, but we could make some soft pretzels. You should have seen his little face!
“You can make them?”, he questioned.
To his delight, I assured him we could and we did. I used my trusty breadmaker to make the dough and he and Sophia helped shape them. Fresh out of the oven, we all agreed they were really delicious!
Today’s agenda included making jam with Aidan and Sophia. Dave’s mother had an abundance of fresh raspberries this year. She froze some and sent them back with him when he returned from his fishing trip to Wisconsin.
Last week, when Aidan was here, he was telling me about his love of jam. I was telling him how his great grandma made really good strawberry jam. Then, I told him we could make some jam ourselves. We had raspberries in the freezer! He was all ears and eager to help!
Since we already had the raspberries, I picked up some pectin and some new lids and liners for the canning jars from the grocery. We had everything we needed.
While we waited for the raspberries to thaw, Dave, Aidan, Sophia, and I played a game of Scrabble to tax their brains. We have an abundance of games accumulated from having four children. We are a game playing family.
Although Aidan, at times, would prefer to be absorbed in the i-Pad, we coax him into playing board games, cards, cornhole, or one of the games in the basement, air hockey, pool, or foosball. Yes, we are a game playing family, but those games teach math, reading, sportsmanship, and so much more.
There are recipes for your jams and jellies included in the pack of pectin. It calls for using a canning cooker.
I don’t have one of those big cookers for canning. We really don’t do a lot of canning. Growing up, we had a huge garden and canned a lot. Living where we do now, there is really not the space for a huge vegetable garden, and the soil here is clay. I grew up in southwestern Indiana, where the soil was dark rich loam. Need I say more? Constant amending of the soil is needed here.
Back to the jam, a post by Jamie at Jamie Cooks It Up shared her recipe for making berry jams. She also had a different way of sealing the jar lids.
She simply brought water, the can lids, and liners to a boil in a pan and turned it down to simmer as she prepared the jam. The lids and liners were retrieved from the simmering water and immediately on the jars of hot jam. This method is used to seal the jars instead of the typical hot water canning method. (This is what I did, too!)
You might be able to see in the picture that the raspberries were not completely thawed. They were still a little frosty. I had 1 quart of raspberries and needed 5 cups of berries. Well, it just so happened we had blueberries in the freezer. So, we added 1 cup of blueberries to make up the difference.
For 5 cups of raspberries, the recipe called for 7 cups of sugar. (Even though I substituted blueberries for one of those, I still used 7 cups of sugar.)
7 cups of sugar were measured into a bowl and set beside the stove, ready to go.
Jamie suggested pulverizing the blueberries with an immersion blender, so I did.
At that point, the pectin was poured on top of the fruit and stirred into it.
On high, the fruit and pectin mixture was heated to a rolling boil, which simply means you can’t stir it down. It continues to boil even though you are stirring.
Once that stage was reached, the bowl of sugar was poured into the boiling fruit and pectin mixture, while continuing to stir.
Once that came back up to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, it was allowed to boil for 1 minute on the stove. Then it was removed and poured into the clean jars. Sophia was assisting me at this point! She said it smelled wonderful. I spooned a little into a small bowl for her and Aidan to test. Of course, it had to cool for a few minutes first!
Using a glass measuring cup was a messy proposition, but I thought it would be the quickest way to accomplish pouring the jam into the jars. We filled 3-pint size jars and 1 half-pint. You can see there was a little leftover, which we kept and refrigerated.
As soon as the jars were filled, a hot lid and liner from the pan of water simmering on the stove were quickly placed on the jars and tightened. How simple is that?
Mary Ellen commented on Jamie’s website that she uses the same technique, but with one exception. After each jar is filled and the seal is on, she turns the jar upside-down until she finishes filling all of the jars (about 10 minutes). It helps the seals to stay really hot. She says she has never had to water-bath can any jams.
Well, it worked like a charm. This was so easy! The kids loved the jam and to tell the truth, I had forgotten how good fresh homemade jam really is! I also like that little bit of blueberry added!
They took 2 jars home with them, one for themselves and one to share. I am sure one seal has already been broken by now!
Have you spent a day of creating with your kids or your grandkids? Share your ideas below!
If you are planning on making some jam after reading this, visit Jamie Cooks It Up. Her recipes were from her Grandma and she has detailed instructions.
Yes, this was a productive and a wonderful day of making raspberry jam with the grandkids.