A trip upstate a few weekends ago to help some friends build a clay oven (more about this exciting development later!) quickly turned into a raspberry picking spree after we saw a sign on the side of the road advertising U-Pick berries. I don't think I've even seen raspberries sold in anything larger then a half pint since I moved to the East Coast so as soon as we pulled over I grabbed a basket and booked it out to the fields with my pals.
We walked up and down the raspberry rows and picked and picked until our arms were scratched from the brambles and our fingers stained from the fruit. It was a glorious summer day and I couldn't help but smile to myself and dream up all of the ways I was going to use the pounds and pounds of raspberries I was picking. Growing up, a corner of my parent's garden was always dedicated to the raspberry bushes that my dad grew from sad little twigs and the smell of raspberry jam boiling away on the stove (a few times per summer) is a smell I haven't experienced in years. When I got home, I knew that a batch of jam was my first order of business.
My mom always made a simple jam with raspberries, sugar and pectin. She never bothered to strain the seeds out so I don't either, but I have adapted the recipe so it no longer requires pectin. I also threw about a pint of tart red currants to add a bit of zing to the jam but by all means, if you can't find currants where you live, you can certainly just use raspberries. If you'd like to make your batch of jam a bit more refined feel free to strain the seeds and be warned that you'll end up with a smaller yield, maybe six half pints instead of seven.
Raspberry Currant Jam
yield, roughly 7 half pints jam
8 ounces red currants (or raspberries if you can't find currants)
40 ounces raspberries
32 ounces sugar
juice of 2 lemons
1. Add the raspberries, currants, sugar, and lemon juice to a large, wide, non-reactive pot.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. As the jam comes to a boil, skim the foam that rises to the top of the pot and discard.
3. Raise the heat to high and boil for 10-20 minutes or until set, being careful not to let the bottom scorch. Begin checking for doneness at 10 minutes. I generally use the wrinkle test to check for doneness with this type of jam, but if you like numbers you can cook it to 220ºF. If you prefer seedless jam, quickly transfer the cooked mixture to a mesh strainer and force as much as the jam through as possible, discard the seeds and proceed with canning.
4. Pour the jam into sterilized jars, then process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.