Last night, Joe and I had a long-awaited “jam session”. In fact, we were “jamming” for quite a while! And yes, we had fun with our witty wordplay… :-)
This year has been an awesome year for raspberries; they have practically been dripping off the bushes. So over the past few weeks, Joe and I spent a few chunks of time out collecting the beautiful red berries. Not knowing when we’d have a chance to make our jam, and wanting to collect a good-size amount of berries, we would store our bounty in the KWG freezer. The very convenient thing about that process is that my mother tells me you get more juice from your berries if you freeze them first. I suppose that didn’t matter so much for this recipe, since we made jam and not jelly, but it still made me feel like it was a good strategy. When we measured the berries last night, we had a grand total of 29 cups!
We finally collected all the necessary materials, and found the even more difficult to locate time to make jam last night. Joe came up to Kennicott, and we spent almost five hours making and canning two batches of jam (well, one is more of a sauce, but close enough!). It was all well worth the time!
Both of us were interested in using less sugar than called for in most traditional jam recipes, so I bought a box of Pomona’s Pectin in Anchorage, and we did a little research on using citrus peel for pectin. Pomona’s Pectin is an all natural type of pectin that jells with much smaller amounts of sugar than usually required. It worked great. Our citrus peel batch was a little more experimental, but still turned out awesome; it’s a little more saucy, but thicker than normal rhubarb sauce, and still with much less sugar!
The other thing we were interested in was using honey instead of white sugar. Our first batch, with the Pomona’s Pectin, was all honey. When we made our second batch, we used the remaining honey we had, and then supplemented that with a bit of sugar. The second batch was also a combination of raspberries and rhubarb, which is deliciously tangy. Considering we experimented so much, everything turned out pretty great.
At the end of the evening, we had 8 pints of raspberry jam and 8 pints of raspberry rhubarb sauce, plus about a cup extra of each for tasting. :-) Joe had brought up some bread he’d made the day before, and we relished each wonderful bite of bread and jam. Good stuff! I’m including the recipe for the raspberry jam, which is basically the formula put forth in the Pomona’s Pectin box. We multiplied this recipe times 5, starting with about 20 cups of berries, which gave us about 17 cups of jam. (In the picture below, the raspberry jam is on the right half of the bread, and the raspberry-rhubarb sauce is on the left side. There’s a slight difference in color!)
makes about 3 cups
4 cups berries
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp Pomona’s pectin powder
2 tsp calcium water (comes with the pectin)
First, prepare your jars. Three half pints should be just right for this batch. Clean the jars and rims, and sterilize the lids in hot water.
In a stainless steel pot, mash the berries; if they were frozen, like mine were, you don’t have to mash too much. Mix the calcium water in with the berries. Mix the pectin powder in with the honey while it’s at room temperature. Bring the berries to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, add the honey-pectin mixture. Bring back to a boil, then remove from heat and pour into jars, filling to 1/4″ from top. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put filled jars in boiling water to cover. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water. Let jars cool and then check the seal.