Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How I Made My Very First Batch of Freezer Jam with Delicious Homegrown Raspberries

Step 1: Pick raspberries. Better yet, have someone pick them for you. Best yet, buy them. Kidding, everyone knows the ones you pick yourself taste the best.

Step 2: Brave the spiders lurking in the canning/car parts* pantry and scavenge for jars with rubber gasket lids---pickle jars, salsa jars, baked bean jars. My mom said I have to become spider-resistant if I want to be a country girl. Debatable. *Car parts are invading the pantry--another project for another time.

Step 3: Remember to eat more pickels/salsa/baked beans/anything that comes in a jar with a rubber gasket lid.

Step 4: Put the jars in the dishwasher if you're lazy like me. Or wash by hand if you're a Luddite or Amish.

Step 5: Fill the hugest bowl you can find with cold water and raspberries. Cold water helps wake you up from your nap! Cold water also helps rinse out all the bugs (bugs being the reason I don't eat while I pick--ask Keith about that). Throw out any undesirables: crusty, bad; blemished or fall-apart-soft, ok.
Step 6: Crush berries with potato masher, but leave some chunks. All the stirring later will help break them up more. Trust me.

Step 7: Add 1/2 c. lemon juice to 3 1/4 c. mashed berries. I was advised to use the Very Special Well Seasoned Jam Making pot, which you see has been well-used.

Step 8: Add 1 box of pectin to berries. Stir every 5 min. for 30 min. so it dissolves fully. BORRRRRRR-ING! (What is pectin, anyway?)

Step 9: While you're waiting 30 min. for the pectin to dissolve (seems a little excessive, but hey I can follow directions--the first time at least), measure out 4 1/2 c. of sugar in a separate bowl.

Wow, that's a lot of sugar.

Step 10: Still stirring every 5 min. Eat animal cookies to kill time.

Step 11: Add 1 c. of corn syrup to berries/pectin mixture (prevents crystallization or something...).

Step 12: Get your apron on! Keith said, "Where's your apron??" I said, "Uh, it's a little late!"But I put it on to feel more professional. I can tell it improved the quality of the jam. I didn't have time to iron it. Or put on a matching shirt.

Step 13: Stir in sugar gradually and keep stirring and keep stirring until it's completely dissolved. Then stir some more just for good measure. Seriously, I stirred for about 20 min.

Step 14: Once all of the sugar is completely dissolved, use a funnel to fill the jars, but leave about 1/2" at the top so when you put the jars in the freezer they don't explode. Don't worry, the blur doesn't affect the taste.

Step 15: Convince the dogs they don't need to be in the kitchen.

Then there's clean up and that.
The jam has to sit for 24 hours and then it goes in the freezer.
More batches tomorrow! I got a late start today.

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