You know those flavors that instantly take you back to your mama’s or your grandma’s kitchen? Just the littlest taste, or maybe even just a smell, and you’re suddenly in that kitchen with the linoleum floor and the formica countertop, begging for just a spoonful.
Raspberry jam is one of those foods for me. Specifically Raspberry Freezer Jam. There would be a day every summer when mama was in the kitchen all day, mashing berries, stirring that bubbling pot, and then praying that the dang jam would actually set this time. One of the last summers before my mama died, I remember Reese and I driving home to Anacortes to help her make jam. It was a lot of work, but she wanted to do it. And so we made the 5-hour drive home to spend the day in the kitchen with her. What I wouldn’t give to be able to do that with her again – most of my favorite memories of my mom revolve around the kitchen. It was just where she was happiest and how she showed love.
It’s been a few years now with no homemade raspberry jam. So this year, I decided I could change that. I gathered some friends to go berry picking (if you’re local, Remlinger Farms in Carnation, WA is amazing for berry picking!), promised Reese $5 if she could fill a basket, and set off to gather berries. It was a perfect sunny day, we picked 10 pounds of berries in about 90 minutes, and I was ready. Well, mostly ready. I still needed a new recipe.
My mama always used the recipe that came with the Sure-Jell pectin package, but I couldn’t do it. The amount of sugar it calls for is a bit insane, 5 ¼ cups to make 4 pints of jam. I mean no wonder that jam tasted so darn good…but I knew there had to be a better way. I did a fair amount of research and found Pomona’s Universal Pectin and it is all I will use forever more.
This pectin doesn’t require the large amount of sugar that all other pectins do, using just ½ cup of sugar instead of five! Talk about a substantial difference and it gives the fruit a chance to really shine too. Even better, you can use any sweetener you want, including honey, monk fruit, agave, white sugar, Splenda…seriously, anything. I used monk fruit sweetener for a no-sugar added jam and I am so happy with it! I will never use another pectin; this one is amazing and the jam set perfectly. I can’t wait to experiment with some more jams this year → fig preserves for Christmas gifts is definitely happening!
If you want to make jam too, I’ve included the Amazon links to everything I used. You don’t need much and it is so much more delicious than anything you’ll buy at the store. Happy jam making!
FREEZER JAM SUPPLIES
Pomona’a Universal Pectin: (nothing else will work, it has to be this brand!)
8oz Plastic Containers: You can use most anything here. I used a mixture of these and some glass jars I had. I like the 8oz siZe for gifting. Everyone loves fresh jam!
Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener: Like I mentioned, you can use any sweetener you’d like, including honey, agave, white sugar, Splenda, etc. I personally like monkfruit and regularly use it as my sugar substitute.
Now that you’ve gathered all of your supplies, it’s time to make jam. It’s super easy, and will have you feeling like a kitchen rock star in no time. Let’s do this!
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RASPBERRRY FREEZER JAM
4 C mashed raspberries (about 8 cups whole raspberries)
2 teaspoons of calcium water (included with the Pomona’s pectin!)
½ C (up to 1 C honey) or ¾ cup (up to 2 C sugar) or ½ C sugar substitute
2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder
Wash containers and lids that you plan to freeze your jam in. Plastic is recommended, as glass can burst. If you use glass, be sure to leave some space at the top for the jam to expand as it freezes!
Prepare calcium water following instructions on package. Wash and mash raspberries. Measure fruit into a sauce pan. Add calcium water and mix well.
Measure sugar, sugar substitute, or room temperature honey into a bowl. Thoroughly mix pectin powder into sweetener. Set aside. If you like a sweeter jam, use more sweetener. If you’d like a more fruit forward jam, use less. Totally up to your taste, it will set just fine with a low sugar amount.
Bring fruit mixture to a full boil. Add pectin-sweetener mixture, stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
Fill jars, leaving a bit of room for expansion. Screw lids on and let set. Could take up to 24 hours to set. Store in the freezer until ready to serve. Once in the fridge the jam should last for up to a month! Makes 4-6 cups.
See easy as could be and totally worth the effort. Your morning toast has never tasted as good as it does with fresh jam on top. And you made it, in the middle of a pandemic no less! Look at you go.
WE’RE BAKING BREAD, WE’RE MAKING JAM…I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT WE FIND OURSELVES UP TO NEXT.
Happy jamming friends!