I was lucky enough to find about 5 pints of freshly picked black raspberries at a local farm market. Naturally I scooped them right up, and brought them home to make one of the best jams I tried last summer.
This is inspired by Marisa at Food in Jars, whose blog and newly published cookbook I highly recommend. You do not have to make jam in big huge batches! This made 7 small jars, plus one teeny-tiny jar of ‘leftover’ that we’ll have on toast for breakfast tomorrow.
This jam uses added pectin, because black-raspberries would otherwise give a very loose set. Makes about 7 half-pints.
- 5 pints black raspberries, a scant 10 c of berries
- 3 1/2 c sugar (much less than my usual rule, but then the berries are sweeter)
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp powdered pectin (I like to use Ball’s flex)
Rinse the berries, and pick them over to remove any leaves or stems. Measure them to be sure you have a bit more than 2 quarts of berries – because if you have less, you’ll need to cut down on the sugar. Put the berries in a large wide non-reactive pot. Add the sugar, and stir to combine. Set aside to get juicy for an hour or so. (This is when I washed the jars in a quick cycle of the dishwasher.)
Zest a lemon (I use a microplane rasp) and then juice it; put the zest and juice into the pot with the berries. Add the butter, which helps control foam. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly.
When the jam has thickened a bit, adjust the texture to your preference. Last year, I left the berries partly whole, and partly smashed. This year, I wanted a thicker spread, so I whizzed them with my immersion blender, and returned the pot to the heat. When the boiling bubbles can’t be stirred down, sprinkle the pectin over the berries and stir well to combine. Cook a few minutes more, if need be, until the jam seems thick – you may want to use the wrinkle test.
When the jam is ready, ladle it into jars, apply lids, and process in a boiling water bath 10 minutes. When complete, remove jars from the canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. Listen for the cheerful ping as the lids complete their seal.