Raspberry Jam

Raspberry Jam

Here's how I know it is finally summer: I can find my berries at the Farmer's Market (and pick 'em at a farm if I wish), and the basil in my garden is out of control. If there is one thing that I like to be out of control, it is fresh basil. Bring on the pesto, people! And as for berries, well, I usually flash freeze them and keep in Ziploc bags to use in smoothies and baking later on. This year I was feeling like a new adventure, so I decided to make some jam. Now, don't give me credit too soon. I am scared of canning. Yes, I said it. The whole water bath thing makes me nervous, like I wouldn't get everything sterilized properly or sealed right and then we'd croak from some hidden bacteria. But, with jam, the nice option you have that my mom and grandma always used is freezer jam. No water bath/pressure canning required--you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or in the freezer for several months. There are loads of recipes online, but if you go to the store and pick up a box of pectin (SURE JELL is one brand, Ball also makes it and it is right next to the canning jars) there are recipes and easy directions for most any fruit you can think of (and even some fun combos) right inside the box. Since I like my jam kind of tart, I went for the low sugar variety and in my delicious batch of raspberry jam there was only 1/2 cup of sugar. This process took me about 20 minutes total (mash fruit, add sugar/pectin/water, boil briefly, pour into jars, feel like Martha Stewart), and I had 8 nice little jars of jam on my counter, ready for the freezer. It is delicious, and I feel ridiculously happy that I have homemade jam from local organic raspberries in my fridge/freezer. Rhubarb from the garden awaits me, and I'm picking up a box of Georgia peaches at a fundraiser today. I've been bitten by the jam bug.

 Warm homemade jam on toast with real butter. If you could have seen me at that moment, you would have seen my happy dance. Yes, I am a kitchen nerd.

Warm homemade jam on toast with real butter. If you could have seen me at that moment, you would have seen my happy dance. Yes, I am a kitchen nerd.

 I made mention of my grammy's lunch-lady apron in my pie making post. It seemed appropriate to wear for jam-making in her honor as well. Every cook needs a lunch lady apron! See how much better coverage you get? The pockets are just a bonus.

I made mention of my grammy's lunch-lady apron in my pie making post. It seemed appropriate to wear for jam-making in her honor as well. Every cook needs a lunch lady apron! See how much better coverage you get? The pockets are just a bonus.

 Labels make me happy

Labels make me happy