In the absence of any DX - now for something completely different!
I've just cooked up another batch of my scrumptious raspberry jam - with a little help from my grandson.
The recipe is simple and the result is always loads better than what you buy.
Thoroughly wash the jam jars and lids in very hot water. Dry them, then place on a baking tray, and put in an oven at 80 deg C for 15 minutes or longer to sterilise them.
Remove them from the oven just after you have added the sugar to the mix - cover with a clean cloth to protect them from insects.
1 unit of frozen raspberries e.g. 1 lb
1 unit of ordinary granulated white sugar e.g. 1 lb
2lb of raspberries will produce around 3 lb of jam.
Use a large heavy bottomed saucepan and put the frozen raspberries in it. Apply the heat to allow them to defrost and once they have, bring to the boil and mash them with a potato masher. Boil for 5 minutes.
The mashing bit is important as it releases pectin from the seeds - no other setting agent should be added.
Take off the heat and steadily pour in the sugar whilst stirring vigourously to disperse it.
Then put it back on the heat and bring to the boil whilst stirring continuously - I add a very small bit of butter to stop it frothing. Stir continously to prevent sticking/burning. After around five minutes the jam is ready to pour/ladle into the jam jars.
I use the ladle to stir the jam so it is at the same temperature as the jam by the time it is ready to pour.
Immediately seal the jars with the lids. I use recycled jars with the pop up seal in the lids.
Safety tip: I wear clean washing up gloves whilst stirring the jam - prevents burns when the jam spits and I can hold the hot jars long enough to firmly tighten the lids.
Note: I've found it better to make small batches of 2-3 1lb/454 g jars - otherwise it takes too long to fill the jars and the jam continues thickening and the last jar of 4 or 5 jar bar ends up very thick.
There are three ways of knowing when the time is right to pour the jam:
1. listen - the boiling sound will change from bubbly to gloopy ( I know - but it's true)
2. cold plate test - put a small plate or saucer in the freezer before you start making the jam. Take it out about 3 minutes after you've added the sugar. At five minutes let a drop or two of jam drop on the cold plate - if it sets quickly - the jam is ready to pour. If not - repeat after one minute.
3. Use a jam thermometer. As soon as the temperature reaches 221 F / 105.0 C pour/ladle into jars.
Footnote - the raspberry patch is only a meter wide and I have 8-10 canes each year. In the peak fortnight I get 5lb of large juicy berries - and probably another 2 lb in the following weeks.
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