Ward House

Glorious raspberries

In my solitude, I have not been idol.  This evening, while Ronnie was bowling and the girls were out with friends, I went to pick raspberries with my neighbor, Pat; we each walked away with a bucket full.  Now I am back to IMG_1807 where I was a few days ago – what to do with all these raspberries.  Pat is going to use a freezer jam recipe.  I am conflicted on whether to make jam or syrup.

The recipe I decided to use is this one from Epicurious:

  • 4 cups (1 liter) granulated sugar
  • 4 cups (1 liter) raspberries

Now here I just used 2 cups of sugar to 4 cups of raspberries.  In the reviews, others found the 4 cups to be a bit much.

1. Place sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 15 minutes. (Warm sugar dissolves better.)

2. Place berries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Add warm sugar, return to a boil, and boil until mixture will form a gel (see tips, below), about 5 minutes.

4. Ladle into sterilized jars and process as directed for Shorter Time Processing Procedure .

What I found most interesting is what is next. . . IMG_1808

To determine when the mixture will form a gel, use the spoon test: Dip a cool metal spoon into the hot fruit. Immediately lift it out and away from the steam and turn it horizontally. At the beginning of the cooking process, the liquid will drip off in light, syrupy drops. Try again a minute or two later — the drops will be heavier. The jam is done when the drops are very thick and two run together before falling off the spoon.

“The intensity of this jam is due to the fact that it has no added fruit pectin,” says Topp. Adding pectin helps the jam jell, but necessitates more sugar, which dilutes the natural flavor of the fruit. Making jam without added pectin requires more careful cooking (see notes about the spoon test, above), but the extra effort pays off in a deliciously old-fashioned, fruity product.

It was in the comments where someone said that raspberries have natural pectin – in the seeds. That is a claim I’ll need to research.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

IMG_1813*UPDATE*  I believe this needs to boil longer and reduce down.  Mine is a syrup, which is fine ’cause that is what I was hoping for.  Using a sieve, some of the seeds were removed and, in hindsight, more will be removed next time.  No worries though – great stuff!

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Canning, recipes | , , , | 2 Comments

The hazards of berry picking

Nothing serious – just very damp.  Originally I was going to sit through the Board of Stupervisors meeting and realized that my patience was very thin and sitting through that circus would be hazardous to the health and well being of others. Remember, this was not the meeting to discuss Dollar General, just to set the meeting in which to discuss Dollar General. I snagged Odis and went berry picking.

IMG_1714 The first thicket had been picked over and I left the remaining berries for the birds and other critters.  I had left Odis in the truck with the windows down so he could hang out but not jump out; cows were pastured in this field (not always the case) and I was afraid that he would chase them and someone would end up hurt.  While perusing this thicket, a storm rolled up and sheets of rain began falling.  In my bolt for the car, I saw all the young cows hanging out by the truck, trying to figure out just what it was and who was inIMG_1715 there.  I think they thought I was hauling hay.  Odis was just sitting in the seat, no barking, waiting for my return.  On the way home I came across a thicket that was AMAZING!  Not wearing the right kind of clothes (boots, jeans, short sleeves, no gloves) to climb the side of this mini mountain, I had to snag what I could easily reach; the fruit just fell off the clusters into my bucket.  Four cups worth ought to be enough to make some fruit syrup, right?

There are several good looking recipes online; what I’d like to know is what works for you.  Is there a recipe that you just love?  If so, please post a link to your blog or just post the recipe.

I cannot wait to read what tasty treasures  you have to share!

July 14, 2010 Posted by | self sufficiency | , , , | 4 Comments