The end of summer is usually a time when I’m scrambling to use up or preserve/freeze/bake into a crisp as many summer berries and stone fruit as possible. Luckily for me, my mother-in-law Becky is known for her fantastic jam and invited me to share in one of her “jamming” sessions, providing a whole new world of possibility for preserving summer’s bounty. After bugging Becky several times about making my favorite apricot jam, not typically in her repertoire, she sought out some local apricots and peaches, and stocked up on raspberries for the main event.
The end result produced a huge quantity of jars, as we did about five batches in total (or was it six?). Becky walked me through two batches of her famous raspberry, followed by peach apricot (we didn’t have enough apricots to jam them on their own), peach, and finally our experimental peach raspberry.
Becky’s Raspberry Jam
5 cups fresh raspberry puree (food processor works well)
1 tsp. butter (to prevent excess foaming)
1 package fruit pectin (we use Sure Jell)
7 c. sugar
Put fresh raspberry puree and butter in large stockpot or saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil and then add pectin. After this step, stir vigorously and return to the boil. Let mixture boil for 1-2 minutes, then add sugar. Continue stirring attentively and bring to a rolling boil for about 2-3 minutes to ensure a proper rise in temperature.
Remove pot from heat and skim foam that has formed on surface of mixture (foam is still delicious over ice cream). While the jam is hot (be very careful), set about ladling it into clean, dry jars (you will need at least six to eight 8 oz. jars per batch). Immediately cover the jars and turn upside down on the counter to ensure sealing and air sterilization inside, returning right-side up after a minute or two. Jam will take a few hours to cool and reach proper consistency.
Peach Apricot jam follows the recipe for raspberry–replace 5 c. of raspberry puree with 5 c. equal parts peach apricot puree. When using stone fruit such as peaches or apricots, blanch fruit in boiling water for a few minutes until skin slips off easily with a pairing knife. Dice and food process, blending until smooth.
For Peach, use 4 c. peach puree and 5 1/2 c. sugar.
Peach Raspberry was a bit of an experiment in the sense that we halved both the recipes for peach and raspberry jam, then combined them. We used 2 1/2 c. raspberry puree and 3 1/2 c. sugar plus 2 c. peach puree and 2 3/4 c. sugar. We were unsure if this would result in proper jam consistency, but were successful (in taste and consistency!).