My raspberry bushes produce a fall treat… another crop of bright red berries. Since freezing temperatures is something on the horizon, I quickly harvest so my family can enjoy this berry. But this season, rather than turning the fall crop into wine or a mixed berry jelly, I decide to make an old classic with a twist. Prepare yourselves for Raspberry Lemon Jam.
Raspberry jam is one of my childhood favorites. Friends and neighbors had these bushes and invited us over to pick berries until our heart’s content. With our buckets full (as well as our stomachs from snacking), us kids would watch mom turn these luscious red berries into pies, cobbler, and my personal favorite…. raspberry jam.
Now fast forward many years later and here I am staring into a bucket of berries. They are large and plump. But on the kitchen counter, I spy several organic lemons that I bought on a whim, but not with a specific recipe in mind. But I thought to myself, raspberry pairs beautifully with lemons. And quite frankly, I am not a fan of really sweet jams. The sweet-tart raspberry flavor could only be enhanced by introducing lemons into the mix.
Raspberry Lemon Jam
- 4 C. fresh raspberries (freshly picked is best)
- 2 1/2 C. granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
NOTE: if you prefer a very sweet jam, use a 1:1 ratio of raspberries to sugar.
Place raspberries into a large preserving pan (something with a heavy bottom works best). Place over medium heat and bring the berries to a boil. (Don’t worry about adding water, the berries are juicy, but remember to stir constantly as they boil). Allow the berries to boil for one full minute. During this time, the raspberries will begin to break down. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the sugar, lemon zest and juice. Bring the mixture back to a boil. Stir to combine everything thoroughly.
Boil until the mixture passes the spoon test. This test determines if the jam has reached the gel stage. Take a cool spoon and dip it into hot berry mixture then remove it from the heat and steam of the pan. Hold the spoon sideways (so it is horizontal). Watch the liquid drop off the spoon. It has reached the gel stage when the drops run together and are thick before dripping off of the spoon.
When the jam reaches this point, fill sterile jars and fit with lids and rims. Place in a water bath canner and process for the length of time necessary for your elevation. The National Center for Home Food Preserving has a document specific to jams and jellies and lists how many minutes to add for processing time per 1000′ of elevation.
Once the jam has been processed for the necessary length of time, remove from canner and place the jars on a towel away from a draft. Soon, you will be treated to the delightful sound of a ‘ping’ as each jar seals.
You can enjoy the jam now or pull a jar off the pantry shelf to enjoy during the depths of winter.