I’ve been waiting for years to get enough raspberries from my yard to make jam, and the time has finally come. I was so excited to make this jam. After making a batch of strawberry jam a few weeks ago that came out too sweet for my taste, I scoured cookbooks and the internet for a raspberry jam recipe that didn’t have added pectin, didn’t have white sugar, and didn’t sound too sweet. When a honey-sweetened jam is too sweet, it tastes like honey instead of the fruit base. I want to taste the fruit. I came across a few leads, but nothing sounded like the perfect solution. So I came up with my own combination of ingredients and a strategy for finding just the right sweetness (*see note at the bottom). I used two ripe peaches and some honey to get it just so, and I am happy to report that everyone loved it.
1½ pounds red raspberries
2 ripe peaches, peeled
1 tbs. lemon juice
½-1 cup honey
- Rinse the berries and discard any that are bruised. Place the berries in a large pot with a heavy bottom.
- Submerge the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water and submerge them in cold water. Cut each peach in half, and then it should be very easy to remove the skin. Chop the peaches and place them in the pot with the berries.
- Add the lemon juice and ½ cup of honey.
- Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. The mixture will become very watery early on, and it will thicken as you cook it.
- After the first 20 minutes, mash the fruit with a potato masher.
- Simmer for another 30-40 minutes, stirring regularly. Taste the jam and see if it seems too tart. If it does, add another ¼ cup of honey. If it still seems too tart, add another ¼ cup of honey for a total of one cup of honey. (I would have stopped at ¾ cup honey if it were just me eating it, but I knew my family would appreciate that last ¼ cup.)
- After a total of 50-60 minutes on the stove, you will notice that the jam looks nice and thick. You can test if it’s done by taking a teaspoonful of jam and dropping it back into the pot. If the jam runs right off the spoon, it’s not quite done. If it is a bit sluggish running off the spoon, it’s done.
- If you buy the Ball canning kit, you can use those supplies for canning and follow the directions on the package.
- If you’re like me and you haven’t bought the canning kit, this is plan B. Sterilize four half-pint jars, lids, bands, and a spoon by running them through the dish washer and timing them to be done when you’re ready for them. You will probably only need three jars, but it’s good to have an extra one ready just in case. Alternately, follow these instructions for sterilizing the jars. The lids should be sterilized in hot but not boiling water (180 degrees) if you don’t use the dishwasher to sterilize them.
- While the jam is cooking, boil a big pot of water. The depth of the water needs to be 1 inch higher than the height of your canning jars.
- With the sterilized spoon, scoop the jam into the hot jars without touching the inside of the jars with your finger. You don’t want to introduce any bacteria to the jam’s environment.
- Leave ¼ inch head space at the top of the jars and put the lids on top of each jar. Don’t touch the bottom of the lid.
- Loosely screw on the bands until they are just connected. You need to leave them loose so they process correctly.
- Place a dish towel in the bottom of the large pot of boiling water and submerge the jars for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat after 10 minutes and leave the jars in the water for 5 more minutes.
- Take the jars out and place them on the counter. Within seconds, you should hear a little “pop” coming from each jar. This is the sign that they have sealed properly.
This batch of jam costs $3.48 to make, or $1.16 per half-pint jar. This is an amazing price for an artisan-quality, real food, homegrown batch of raspberry jam. It’s so affordable because I grew the berries myself, and I’m just praying that the squirrels will stay away from my berries and I can make a lot more of this jam. I couldn’t find a store-bought version of raspberry jam that didn’t have sugar or pectin, but this quantity of Stonewall Kitchen raspberry jam would cost $15.90.
*Note: A few sources I read cautioned against making up your own jam recipes for canning. They stated that it is important to get a certain combination of fruit acidity and sugar for the safety of the final product. After much searching, I couldn’t find any raspberry jam recipes that I was happy with, so I put this one together. Raspberry is a high-acid fruit with its own natural pectin, and honey is a natural form of sugar. I threw in a little lemon juice just to be safe because lemon juice helps to kill bacteria.
Linking to Make Your Own! Monday, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Farm Girl Friday, Frugal Fridays.
Here’s a great way to use this jam: Raspberry Jam Bars