I never pictured myself as a jam maker, in the last few years however, I have been making a lot of jam's and jellies. I think it all started with a peach and habanero jam. I found the recipe in some magazine while at work and thought it sounded interesting. I went to the market and picked up all that I needed and made my very first jam. I was hooked and started playing around with other odd jam flavors. I have developed quite a stock pile of jams and jellies at the house, I probably could go a year or two without buying any and still have a surplus. I have made jams and jellies out of just about everything you would imagine, Lilac jelly, carrot jam, honey and port jelly, and my personal favorite the lemon and honey jelly. So when my new neighbors told me that I could have free access to their raspberry patch you can only imagine what I wanted to make.
The raspberry patch is a good sized one for being in a back yard, it is about 12 feet by 20 feet and the berries are in full swing right now. I went and pick about 3 quarts yesterday and could probably get that same amount today. There is nothing better than picking fresh berries on a day that is about 90 degrees, because the berries are so sweet and juicy when you eat them of the vine. I figured that I could make about 8 half pints of jam using 2 quarts of berries so I needed to find something to do with the extra quart. I finally decided to mash up the extra berries and steep them in grain alcohol for the next week and make a raspberry cordial of sorts. We will have to wait and see how that turns out.
Making jam isn't as hard as one would think it is, all that is needed are berries, sugar and pectin. If you wanted to add something to it to give it a unique flavor you could pretty much add anything you wanted. In my Raspberry jam I like to add about a teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg. It just rounds out the flavor of the berries and gives the jam a warmer flavor. I haven't figured out a way to make seedless raspberry jam without sacrificing quantity so I leave the seeds in there. They really don't bother me that much, if anyone has a good technique for getting rid of them I am all ears.
In the end I was left with 2 full pints and 5 half pints and am trying not to eat it right out of the jar with a spoon. I kept several of the jars for myself and gave a few to the neighbors, thank you Carl and Lindsey for moving in next to me and sharing your berries.
8 cups fresh raspberries
7 cups sugar
1 package powdered pectin
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Crush the berries and stir in the pectin, bring to a boil then add sugar all at once. stir constantly until berries and sugar are at a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and fill sterilized jars. Process in a water bath for 5 minutes and let cool.