Whew! It's been quite a few hectic days around here at Chez QT! I've been putting still more stuff up on Etsy, so check out the link at right and spread the word- I'd love to get this thing really going and sell a lot of vintage goodies!
I've also been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I just realized that with warmer weather approaching (eventually!) I need to empty my freezer of all the roasts and cold weather-type things. So it may surprise you to note that this week's cooking feature is a most un-seasonable raspberry jam.
But there's a story in this (as always). I sometimes shop at a local discount grocery, the type that sells dented cans and opened cases of this and that. They often get the castoffs from the big grocery stores around here, and sometimes the bargains really can't be beat, as long as you're willing to do a little work.
Case in point- a few weeks ago they had 1 pound boxes of California raspberries at 50 cents a piece. Yes, you read that correctly- they usually run about $4.99. Problem was, they were starting to turn moldy. But I scooped up about 6 pounds of the best boxes. Once I went through them, there were very few berries that were completely unsalvageable, and the rest went into the freezer for this project.
Sometimes when I make jam I do not have enough of one kind of berries (5 pounds of anything out of season can be $$) so I make a mixed batch with some strawberries, blueberries and cherries- the recipe is the same.
I also really like the Ball No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin, because I do not have to add copius amounts of sugar to get it to jell. I follow a diabetic diet, so I love anything that does not require additional sugar. But if you like you could add some sugar- I would say no more than 1 cup would yield a sweeter jam.
about 5 pounds raspberries, crushed (about 8 cups)
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 package Ball No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin
0 to 1 c. sugar according to your taste.
6 to 8 pint canning jars, bands and lids, sterilized and hot. I run my jars and bands through the dishwasher, at the same time my canner is heating up. I keep the clean lids in a cup of hot water I take out of the canner.
First, bring 2-3 gallons of water in your canner to a boil. This may take as long as an hour.
Crush the berries gently with a potato masher (I am using an antique wooden potato masher- it is a great tool for this job) in a large saucepan. Don't use a food processor or blender, as it breaks down the natural sugars in the berries and your jam will not set.
Add one cup of unsweetened apple juice and the package of fruit pectin and bring to a rolling boil.
Once the mixture is boiling begin to stir it continuously for 3 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and fill hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headroom.
Place lids and bands in place and tighten gently- just finger tight.
Place filled jars in the boiling water canner, making sure there is at least 2 inches of water covering them.
Boil for 10 minutes.
Remove jars and place them on a cutting board or towel (not a cold counter top, or you risk some serious breakage!). Listen for the seals to pop. Allow the jam to stand at least 24 hours to set. (This is the hardest part! :)