Friday, August 20, 2010
One of my favorite memories from when I was growing up was my mom’s Raspberry Jelly. I love raspberries in any way, shape or form, but the Jelly was awesome. Nothing better! We ate it on hot rolls, ice cream, pancakes, waffles or sometimes if she wasn’t looking with a spoon. My dad loved it mostly because there were no seeds. I just loved it.
I think one of my kids’ favorite memories of their Grandpa was picking raspberries with him. He’d show them how to find the perfect ones and I know they all remember those experiences fondly. I certainly do miss running out in the back yard and picking raspberries. Someday I hope there are raspberries in my garden. (I make it sound like they might just magically appear there!)
The last 2 years I have found beautiful, sweet and extremely cheap raspberries to buy. The first year when I bought them and they were so reasonable I bought a lot. Like 3 or 4 flats. I planned to make some jam and jelly and freeze a few. I did, but there were so many I decided to try canning them. I’d never had canned raspberries before and being the food texture freak that I am, I worried about them being soft or mushy, but I knew that my husband would eat them.
I never envisioned them being so wonderful. I canned them in half pint jars and they were perfect to open for a snack, to pack in a lunch or for any other excuse I could find. So the next year when I found an even better price I bought 5 flats and canned again. This time in pint jars.
This year they are more expensive and as of yet I have not found a really good price so I’m not doing as many unless I find that really good deal. But…this is the year I make the raspberry jelly.
One thing I want to mention here is that if you are an avid canner, you know how important it is to have the right equipment for the job. One of my favorite “tools” is my steam juicer. If you can a lot of tomato or fruit juices or syrups, this is the best thing ever. I think back to my mom squeezing her fruit through cheesecloth to extract all the juice and working with the strainer for hours and I could cry. The steam juicer makes it so much easier and the juice to fruit yield is so much higher. So…there is my product plug for today.
Here are some recipes to try if you don’t have your own. The only thing better than eating raspberries is seeing all those canning jars filled with raspberries and raspberry jelly or jam sitting on your shelves.
4 quarts raspberries mashed
½ c. lemon juice
Boil berries and lemon juice for 4 minutes. Drain juice through a strainer. Bring to a boil and add sugar, stirring till sugar is dissolved. Seal in bottles. Process in water bath canner 5 minutes. Use 1 ½ c. sugar to 1 c. juice. Jelly thickens as it cools. This is a thin jelly, and works well as a syrup also. For thicker jelly, use pectin as per pectin package instructions.
Wash and pick over berries. Eat a few to make sure they are as good as you remember. Pack into canning jars to within 1/2” of top. Fill to within 1 ½” of top of jar with boiling syrup. To make syrup Boil sugar and water together until sugar is dissolved. Use 1 cup sugar for every 3 cups water. (This is a thin and not too sweet syrup). Put on cap, and band. Process in boiling water bath for Half pints – 10 minutes, Pints – 15 minutes or quarts – 20 minutes.