Saturday, August 8, 2009

Experiments in Jam Making: Raspberry Jam Recipes

Before this summer, I had never, ever made jam before. But then I bought a few varieties of last summer at a farmer's market that rocked my world so much that I felt compelled and inspired to take a mad run at jam making this year. We are fortunate enough to have pretty large raspberry patch(and wildly unchecked--sorry neighbors whose property our patch encroaches upon more and more each year--but I guess that is why all manner of people in our neighborhood feel free to come over and gather raspberries of their own accord and use them to make vats of raspberry margaritas for their drunken friends)--so this is, naturally, the fruit with which I launched my experiments given the gratuitous amount of berries we have each year. And let me share with you a few lessons gleaned along the way... JAM LESSON NUMBER #1: Jam making is not all art. Whoa no. There is a good dose of science that goes into making jam and for those of us who tend to do most everything in the kitchen in an improvisational manner--well, your jam may or may not like that. While its not like your jam will explode in your face and burn out your eyes if you mess with the recipe too much, but it will have this annoying habit of not jelling and just sitting all runny-like in your nicely sealed jam jars, taunting you as you tilt it on its side and slooshes around in there. Screw you, jam, were not altogether uncommon thoughts for me.

JAM LESSON NUMBER #2: If you are someone who can buckle down and adhere to a recipe's exact measurements and instructions, then jam making is a pretty straight-forward, fail-safe venture. 8 1/2 pint jars can be whipped out in under 2 hours, no prob. I actually did manage to make that happen a couple of times.

JAM LESSON NUMBER #3 (and the most important lesson): If you have enough wherewithal, you can actually FIX your jam experiments gone awry--and IT ACTUALLY WORKS! Yes, you will have to invest another hour and a half or so, doing jam penance, but once you are done, your jam sins will be forgiven and all will jell (jubilation ensues). So, I am here to share my tried and VIABLE jam recipes. If you can follow the recipe, I believe I have taken all the need for jam penance and cussing under your breath out from the recipes. Here's what I got for you:

A simple but delish raspberry jam recipe: DOWNLOAD RASPBERRY JAM RECIPE

And my fave--a raspberry-jalapeno jam recipe: DOWNLOAD MOST AWESOME RASPBERRY JALAPENO JAM RECIPE

And most importantly, the cure for runny, disobedient jam: DOWNLOAD RUNNY JAM CURE
But what can you do with all that raspberry or raspberry jalapeno jam?, you ask. Well, let me just suggest a few ideas (depending upon if you are in the mood for a little sweet and savory heat in your food or not, you can use the jams interchangeably in the suggestions below):
  • Warm some brie, spoon the jam on top, sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds, and serve with crostini
  • Spread a little on a slice of flourless chocolate cake (or unfrosted brownies), serve with a dollop of whipped cream
  • Mix a 1/3 cup of the jam with 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar and use as a glaze on chicken or pork
  • Mix it with some minced garlic, a little salt, pepper, thin slightly with some cider vinegar and toss with chicken wings (you will want to roast the wings to near doneness--then apply this glaze toward the tail end so as to avoid too much crunchy blackening)
  • Make a grilled cheese with some wholegrain bread and sharp white cheddar and add a little layer of the jam
  • Make a sandwich with turkey, arugula, Jarlsberg cheese, and spread a little jam on the baguette
  • Spoon it over cheesecake
  • Serve with panko crusted shrimp
  • And the easiest, dump it on a block of cream cheese and serve with some whole grain crackers
And one more bit of wisdom to impart--as a novice, I found this website, Pick Your Own, for tips on canning, making jam, etc, incredibly helpful.
I will be back with future adventures in jam making, as I plan to make a mad run at blubarb, apricot, and pepper yet...but in the meantime, may all your jams jell and your canning jars seal.


Meg said...


Analisha said...

I would love to try your recipes! But for some reason my computer will not follow the link to download them or view them. Is there any way you could email me your 3 Raspberry Jam recipes?
My email address is
Let me know if you are okay with that and if not that is okay too!

txjanet said...

Hi! This is my favorite kind of jam to eat, so I decided to try to make it. I am a beginner this year but the first two jams I made (a cherry jam and a strawberry jam) jelled, and this one didn't--yet! It's been 3 days I think. How long did yours take? (although the Ball pectin I used helpfully said jelling could take up to 2 weeks?! I think I liked Pomona's the best so far) Thanks!