Jam making: Raspberries in two ways and Blackberries with Lavender and Black Walnut

Note: With the weather being so horrible, I wanted to give myself (and everyone else) a taste of spring/summer. This was from one of last year’s jam-making sessions.

Raspberries and blackberries came into season and as usual, my family made jam once we were done eating ourselves sick on them. Our usual tack is to consider ingredients that pair well with whatever fruit we’re making jam from rather than making pain raspberry or blackberry jam and then play with them to see what flavors we can coax out of the berries. Our preference is to play with the different aspects of the fruit flavor as well as with whatever we’re pairing them with.

Some good seasonal pairings with raspberries are:
mint, chocolate (use no less than 74% dark chocolate if you’re canning), rose, ginger, sparking white wine, sweet white wine, bordeaux wine, cinnamon, lemon, and thyme

Some good seasonal pairings with blackberries are:
Lavender, black walnut, pepper, cinnamon, lemon, bordeaux wine, hazelnut, and chocolate (use no less than 74% dark chocolate if you’re canning)

We get our berries wherever they are cheapest. This time was from our local grocery store as they had a huge sale. We have used organic and local pberries and they do have a richer flavor. Generally they are also a bit less sturdy and break down easily while macerating in sugar.

Confession time: I do use commercial pectin. I’ve made jams with apple pectin and have had mixed success. Since making jam is to preserve the fruit for later, I prefer a process that I am better versed in and gives 100% success every time. I’ve had too many fermented and moldy jars to feel comfortable only using apples for their pectin. I continue to try and in the future may fully make the transition, however, now is not that time.

Before you pull out the fruit, get your canning stuff ready. The water should already be boiling in the canning pot and your equipment should already be sterilized, including your canning jars. Your jars should be hot when you put the jam into them.

Raspberry and Rosewater Jam
6 quarts raspberries
1 cup sugar
1 T rosewater
the juice of half a lemon
2 T low-sugar pectin

You may need to adjust the rosewater depending on how fragrant your raspberries are. Start with a teaspoon, mix thoroughly and taste.
Mix together the ingredients and allow them to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, put everything in a pot and bring to a boil.
If the raspberries haven’t broken down, use a potato masher to break them up.
Once it comes to a boil, add the pectin and stir it thoroughly.
Bring to a boil again and ladle into your jars.

Raspberry and Mint Jam
6 quarts raspberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh grapefruit mint, chopped
the juice of half a lemon
2 T low-sugar pectin

If you don’t have access to grapefruit mint, it’s just a mint variant so you can use spearmint, which is more readily available in supermarkets. There will be a change in the final product, so start with about half of what I recommend and adjust to taste.
Mix together the ingredients and allow them to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, put everything in a pot and bring to a boil.
If the raspberries haven’t broken down, use a potato masher to break them up.
Once it comes to a boil, add the pectin and stir it thoroughly.
Bring to a boil again and ladle into your jars.

Blackberries with Lavender and Black Walnut
I used a high-quality black walnut extract. You can find this in specialty stores as well as online. My husband described the flavor as being like a really good blackberry soda. This can be melted down and used as a topping for ice cream – just heat it up until it goes liquid again and put it straight on the ice cream.

12 pints blackberries
2 T culinary lavender, whole
2 T black walnut extract
3 c sugar
3 T low-sugar pectin

This does not sit overnight, and is better if you just want to get this done the day that you purchase the berries.

Mix together the ingredients and put them into a pot.
Bring this to a boil.
If the blackberries haven’t broken down, use a potato masher to break them up.
Once it comes to a boil, add the pectin and stir it thoroughly.
Bring to a boil again and ladle into your jars.

For canning all recipes:
Put the jam in the jars, wipe off the tops, and put on the lids and rims.
Process for 5 minutes in the canner.
Pull them out of the canner and allow to cool to room temperature.
Make sure that your lids have popped, if they haven’t, put the jar in the refrigerator and use within a couple of weeks.

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About Jenn

Jennifer writes about Food History and other food-related topics on her personal blog when she is not working full time, spending time with her family, or being a full-time student.
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