We have been getting a bunch of berries off of our raspberry bushes but nowhere near enough to make jam with. My kids eat them every day and they absolutely love the whole picking fruit from your own bushes and eating it immediately. Our big raspberry canes were planted last fall and they are producing a lot of fruit per cane but there are only five of them so overall it isn’t a lot. We also have a smaller Shortcake raspberry bush that spread quite a bit this year but it is done fruiting. We didn’t get very many berries off of it but the ones we did eat were delicious. I am excited for next year’s harvest!
Since we didn’t get a whole lot of raspberries this year and raspberry jam is our favorite we decided to go berry picking instead. There are several local farms in our area that have raspberries to pick. We have picked the Tulameen variety in the past and absolutely loved them but the farm we went to had something different this year. The berries were still good but we are definitely looking for Tulameens next year if our plants don’t produce enough fruit.
Our kids love to berry pick with us so they came too. We had an old friend in town so we made a day trip out of it.
The weather was supposed to be on the cooler side but even though there were storm clouds in the sky it was pretty hot out towards the end of our berry picking.
We picked for a couple of hours until the kids got antsy. Even a snack was not enough to keep the crankiness away from our son.
The kids were covered in dirt and our friend was ready to go so we headed back and bought some pre-picked flats to tide us over.
We had a great time and came home with a bunch of berries.
We may have overdid it a bit…four pre-picked boxes and 2 and part of another pick-your-own boxes. We love raspberries!
First things first I washed berries (one of the kids may have resorted to dumping dirt on the berries to keep busy…ahem…the one year old) and put them on a cookie sheet to freeze. It took a couple of days due to space issues in the freezer but I got 3 gallons of raspberries frozen for smoothies. We are sadly down to half a bag of frozen strawberries if that tells you how many smoothies we have been making. Our kids love smoothies and ask for them almost every day. I really wish we had picked more strawberries so I could have frozen at least two more gallons of berries.
After bed time my husband, oldest daughter and I got to work making raspberry jam. We made our raspberry jam kind of hap-hazardly and if I were to do it again I would probably have followed the recipe more. We used the same recipe card as the strawberries but there was some confusion with so many people in the kitchen and we almost had our proportions off several times. I think next year we will give everyone a job to do so it is more organized. We did not in fact follow the recipe exactly and I am not going to post the recipe we used but suffice to say we made double batches of jam (not recommended by most canning guidelines) and only used half the pectin with most of the sugar (I hope).
The first thing we did was crush up a bunch of raspberries. We used about 10 cups of raspberries per batch. We did not opt to strain out some of the seeds because we were using less pectin and raspberry seeds naturally have pectin in them. We have done no added pectin recipes with raspberries in the past and they have been wonderful but we used a little in ours this time just to be sure since we were doing double batches.
We cooked our raspberries according to the instructions and tested our batches by putting a little bit into the freezer. This test run was still a little runny so we cooked it a little more.
After cooking we filled pint jars and placed them in the water bath canner. We processed them for 15 minutes. We did have one jar break in the water bath which created a huge mess but it was towards the end of the canning process so we left the jars in there until the batch was done processing. Luckily the jar only broke into two pieces. This was our first jar break and it was one of our half pint jars. Our half pint jars are the workhorses of our kitchen and we use them all the time, even to store leftovers in the fridge. They have been used many times to can food and been run through the dishwasher so I am sure the jar was just at the end of it’s life.
We made a ton of jam! Only two of our jars did not seal so we will be eating them this week and I am hoping the rest will last the year. One of our batches is more like raspberry sauce and we can use that for waffles and pancakes. Sometimes batches don’t turn out all the way, even if you follow the recipe!.
Are you putting up raspberry jam this year?