Whilst I will openly admit that strawberries are usually better for eating fresh than raspberries, raspberry jam is hands down my favourite type of jam. After a poll where over 300 people voted on my Instagram, over half of the people agreed. I have been testing different jam recipes in search of the perfect raspberry jam, and for me this is just that.
Nothing in this world beats homemade jam on some freshly baked bread. Once you’ve had a taste of good homemade jam, you will never look back. Shop bought jam just won’t cut it.
For making jam you need a large pan or stock pot. When cooking jam, it will bubble up before it then reduces and thickens, so you need plenty of room to allow for this.
I have lots of little elves who save up all their jam jars for me (usually in exchange for a jar of jam at some point in the season!). Be careful about the jars you use and what was previously in them, because lids often retain the smell of what was in the jar, and can alter the taste of your jam. Any jars that have had pickles in them I will save for green tomato chutney. I will only use jam, honey and possibly mayonnaise jars for making jam.
Alternatively, you could buy some jars. This* is a great cheaper option, or kilner have a fantastic range if you are looking for more aesthetic jars. I find this recipe makes about 5-6 jars of jam, although this will vary depending on the size of your jars! Mine are usually a fairly regular jam jar size.
I use a silicone jam funnel. A funnel makes transferring the jam so much easier and is a must in my opinion.
Some people prefer to use a thermometer, but this really isn’t a necessary piece of equipment. In fact, I’ve actually had more reliable results by just using the plate-in-freezer method. If you do wish to use a thermometer, then jam setting point is 105C. Alternatively do what I do and put a couple of side plates in the freezer before you start, and test the jam intermittently. I will explain more how to do this in the method part of the recipe.
Contrary to popular belief, to make the best jam you need the freshest fruit you can get. Many people think that jam is best made from old fruit. Whilst this is a great way of preserving fruit that may otherwise go bad, unfortunately it doesn’t create great jam. I discovered this last year when I picked a whole heap of raspberries, and put them in the pot for jam the moment I got home. Now I will only make jam when I have the time to harvest and make the jam straight away. I’ll admit that this has resulted in some late night jam making sessions, but it is 100% worth it.
Scaling the recipe
This recipe is easily scalable for those who have smaller raspberry patches. Of course you can also make a larger batch if you have the ingredients and the equipment! This recipe divides quite easily by 5, so you could easily do two-fifths or three-fifths of the recipe.
1500g raspberries, freshly picked
1200g granulated sugar
5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (around 1 large-ish lemon – lemons vary a lot in size which is why I have given tbsp measurements)
- Begin by washing your jars and lids in warm, soapy water, then transfer them to an oven at 100C. Wash your jam funnel and put a couple of side plates in the freezer.
- Wash your raspberries and then transfer them to your largest pan, along with the sugar and lemon juice.
- Gently heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved to prevent it sticking and burning.
- Increase to a medium-high heat, stirring frequently. This will take a little while, and usually the jam will bubble up before it reduces and thickens.
- Once it has started to thicken, begin testing it by spooning small amounts onto a side plate that has been cooled in the freezer. Pop the plate back into the freezer for a minute or so before removing and testing the jam. To test the jam, push your finger through it, and if the surface winkles it should be set. If it is far off this stage then give it another 5 minutes before testing again. When you are getting close, test more frequently. If you are using a thermometer then you can omit this stage.
- Once the jam has reached setting point (105C for those using thermometers), remove from the heat whilst you quickly (but carefully) remove your jars from the hot oven. Be careful with putting hot jars on worktops, as this may damage certain work surfaces, or may cause the jars to break if they come into contact with a cold hard stone surface. We have granite worktops, and I always place a clean tea towel over the surface first.
- Using your jam funnel, carefully pour the jam into the hot jars, and seal quickly afterwards. This should create a vacuum seal. Some people opt to put wax discs on their hot jam to prevent spoilage too. I’ve personally never used these and have never had any spoilage issues.
- Leave to cool before enjoying. You should hear some popping noises as the lids of the jars pop in – this is good and it means that vacuum seals are successful.