Berries for jam

Q: What do you get when you put together 40 lbs of raspberries, another 30 lbs of strawberries and blueberries, gallons of discounted frozen raw milk, sprouted grain buns bought on sale, multiple whole chickens, and a 1/4 of a cow?

A: One little deep freeze that is oh-so-rapidly nearing full capacity!

As I put away bag after bag of frozen raspberries last week, I noticed something alarming (and wonderful). It seems that this summer, for the first time ever, we will completely cram our freezer packed full of frozen fruit!

Though we always put away a lot of fruit (mostly berries) each summer, we have never achieved this feat! Not to mention the fact that this is our first year with a slightly bigger freezer than ever before!

But, the kids are getting bigger, and the smoothie that used to easily feed our little family is no longer sufficient. Even Caden wants his fill, and he frantically signs “more, more, more!” as he hoovers down 3/4 of my berry smoothie before I barely even get a sip!

As I stared at the last 10 lbs or so of raspberries in our fridge, waiting to be frozen, and then peered into the note-so-empty-anymore freezer that was still intended to hold 40-50 more lbs of blueberries (not to mention wild blackberries), I realized that I needed to come up with a Plan B.

Canning-jars-in-dishwasher
Raspberries-on-stove

Berries-in-sink
Messy-kitchen-making-jam

So we decided to make raspberry jam!

Well, jam was only a small part of it. I opted to try 3 different recipes, since I had never tried any of them before. The end result was (I’m sorry- I forgot to take a picture!):

Raspberry Jam- 2 jars (a recipe that only called for berries and honey- no pectin!- we’ll see how it turns out, I suppose)
Raspberry Preserves- 5 jars (these are basically whole raspberries in a syrup of honey and water, then canned in a boiling water bath-)
Raspberry Preserves, fermented- 1 large jar (this is the Nourishing Traditions recipe, and calls for mushing raspberries in a jar, adding sweetener, whey and water, then letting it sit at room temperature for 2 days before moving it to cold storage)

The only thing we’ve tried so far is one jar of the preserves (from a book called Putting It Up With Honey), that had a lid that just wouldn’t seal despite trying it several times. I gave up and decided we would have waffles with berries for breakfast the next morning… so yummy!

The title of this post is a nod to a favorite little children’s book, Jamberry. When I was working on the jam, these sweet little stanzas kept running through my head:

Under the bridge
And over the dam
Looking for berries
Berries for jam

Recipe for Raspberry Jam
(from Putting It Up With Honey: A Natural Foods Canning and Preserving Cookbook, by Susan Geiskopf)
Yields 3 half pints

3 cups raspberries
1 1/2 cups honey

Mash berries in a sauce pan. Heat to a boil and cook down for 15 minutes.

Add the honey and bring to 9 F/ 5 C degrees above boiling. Cook for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and beat with a wire whip for about 6 minutes.

Spoon into hot jars to within 1/4 inch from the top. Complete seals. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

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About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Followed the recipe above and my jam turned out great. Not overly sweet with a strong raspberry flavor. I made it to eat right away. Not sure how to feel about canning a recipe that doesn’t appear to be USDA approved.

  2. Erin, I’m not sure if it would work for blueberries, because I’m not sure if they have enough natural pectin (which is why you don’t see any in the recipe). My gut is that you would need to add pectin, but I’m not a real experienced jam maker, so I wouldn’t take my word for it. :) As far as freezing goes, again, I’m not sure because I’ve never tried it! If you do try, please let me know!
    If you’re really interested in recipes without sugar, I would definitely check out the book I mentioned (Putting it up with honey), as none of it’s recipes have sugar in them and it has a very wide variety of recipes. Hope it works for you!

  3. What a great recipe….love that there is not sugar in it. Question…. do you think this recipe would work with blueberries? Also, can this jam be frozen instead of canned? Thank you!

  4. I’ve also been busy with berries…when its not raining! I put 20 quarts of strawberries in the freeze, and so far have 7 pints of wild (free!) raspberries. Have to get more and also wild blueberries. I like the recipes, thank you!

  5. You are amazing! Can you tell me what is happening in the photo that looks like a colander of berries in soapy water? I am so ignorant of these processes! Great job on all this homemaking! Kel

  6. oops! Nevermind my last message, my husband just read your post and pointed out that it says “above boiling” just after the temps. ha, ha. Anyway, I’m so glad you posted this, I have a ton of peaches and was feeling reticent about canning with so much sugar and am thrilled to see a honey recipe and be reminded of fermented preserves. Thanks!

  7. Hi there, I just want to check in about the temperatures. In the jam with honey recipe it says 9 F/5 C which seems a little off, can you confirm? Thanks!