July 22, 2010

Raspberry Jam

The raspberries began ripening last week, about a week or two early, and on Monday the yields were large enough to make a batch of jam. When I pick raspberries, and see them dangling in their ruby masses, I feel as though they are a marvelous gift. Even though there's a certain amount of work involved in growing them, when they are ripe they seem to be a wild food, prolific and free. When I moved here, there was a large circular mass of berry canes and weeds which I fought into shape over a couple of years; with rototiller and hand weeding, I created two large rows––2 1/2 by 25 feet each––of raspberries. They provide lots of fresh eating, gallons of frozen fruit, and delicious jam.

Use 4 cups crushed berries, about 2 quarts, using 1/4 underripe and 3/4 ripe so as to have enough pectin to jell. I use my potato masher to crush the berries. The proportion of sugar is 3/4 cup to one cup crushed berries; with 4 cups berries, use 3 cups of sugar.

Self portrait in raspberry jam

  1. Put the berries in a large pot, bring to a boil slowly, then add the sugar. Cook at a rapid boil (it's good to have a deep pot so the jam doesn't splash around the kitchen), stirring very frequently, until the mixture is thick and sheets from a spoon. I use a heavy bottomed stainless pot, which works really well for jam making because it spreads the heat and doesn't stick. Skim off the foam that forms. I find that raspberries take about 1/2 hour to thicken.
  2. You can use the refrigerator test to see if the jam is done: put a some jam on a plate and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes. If it is set by then, it is done.
  3. When the jam is ready, ladle into clean hot jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. The recipe makes 3 or 4 half pint jars. For my batch on Monday, I used 5 cups of crushed berries with 3 3/4 cups of sugar, which yielded 5 half pint jars.
I hope there will be a good crop of wild blackberries this year; they too make a wonderful jam. Part of my breakfast each morning is a slice of home made sourdough bread with home made jam; I cycle through the various jams I make each summer––rhubarb, raspberry, blueberry (some years), blackberry (sometimes), green tomato, and apple butter (every other year)––and never tire of them.


  1. Thanks for this recipe, Altoon. I remember my grandmother, who had a well-tended two rows of raspberries in her suburban DC garden, making this jam. I have a not-so-well tended five rows of raspberries, and more fruit this year than ever, so I hope to make jam this year. If not, many bags of berries in the freezer...

  2. Susan, I hope you give the jam a try; it's very delicious and it's nice to know you're eating something homemade. Let me know how it goes if you decide to try cooking up some.

  3. Oh, your raspberries are gorgeous. I've been picking blueberries, black raspberries, and red. The last jam was rhuberry as I used rhubarb with the 3 berries and just a bit of sugar. Not enough to seal as I only made a small batch...but so very good on toast! Love those berries.

  4. Maggie, your mixed jam sounds yummy. I don't have lots of blueberries this year, but it looks like there will be lots of blackberries. If they start ripening when I still have raspberries, it might be fun to try a combo of blackberry/raspberry jam.