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Wintery Raspberry, Goosberry and Peary Jam.

Making jam is often something that is defined by a seasonal glut of fruit and produce, a way of preserving those summer notes for the winter months. Sometimes though, we need a little fruity pick me up in the middle of those cold dark months and we never got round to capturing the abundance of ripe fruity goodness when we could. Luckily there are fruits available in the darkest depths of winter that make delicious jams. Mostly though, the ability to freeze berry fruit for just such a moment is what makes this delicious jam possible. Looking at a fruitbowl of nearly past it winter nellis pears and wondering what to make is what inspired this particular recipe. After burrowing through the freezer and unearthing a bag of raspberry crumbles and a long forgotten bag of goosberries the jam making began!

Ingredients:

1 kg of jam raspberries
800gm of sugar
500gm of goosberries
4-5 overripe pears (any pears will do but unripe pears need far more cooking)
2-3 large green apples

6-8 medium sized jam jars – it always pays to sterilise a few extras

 

A note on sugar and pectin:

Many jam recipes rely on large ratios of sugar to make setting easier and to ensure the jam stays preserved. I find these jams too sweet and cloying and the benefits in longevity don’t outweigh the tradeoffs in flavour and sugar overload.The trick is to cook the jam long and slow until it is ready to set – only bringing it to a rolling boil at the end. Commercial pectin is avalable, but lemons and apples are a natural source. This blog post goes over this in details.

 

A note on sterilisation:

There are many ways to sterilise your jam pots, I am an expert on none. I use a dishwasher – and haven’t had a problem yet. There are really only two important things to ensure, one that your jam pots are hot when the jam goes in, this is to stop the jars from breaking, and two, that the jars are clean and sterile – heating them sufficiently does double duty. This article covers all of the basics.

 

raspberry gooseberry pear jam

Assembling all of the ingredients (gooseberries not pictured). Lemon is used to balance acidity and help the jam to set.

raspberry gooseberry pear jam

Raspberry crumbles are often sold at frozen outlet store and at almost half the price of whole raspberries and far cheaper than fresh, they are a great option for jam making. This is a kilo bag, which costed approximately $6

 

 

 

 

Pears – especially ripe ones are low in pectin and acidity. Lemon helps with this

raspberry gooseberry pear jam

The first step is to soften the fruit and reduce to jam consistency. This is done at a slow temperature with frequent stirring to stop the bottom from catching. Sugar is NOT added at this step as it makes the chance of burning much higher.

raspberry gooseberry pear jam

Adding the sugar and gooseberries. I added the sugar later so that it didn’t caramelise and darken the jam prematurely. The goosberries – mainly because I forgot about them, but they also break down really quickly, especially from frozen.

raspberry gooseberry pear jam

Getting jam to set can be a thing of luck, many people buy pectin, or pectinised sugar. Lacking both I made my own pectin by boiling green apples – core, skin, stem, and all and pouring the reserved liquid into my jam.

raspberry gooseberry pear jam

Pectin mixture ready to use.

raspberry gooseberry pear jam

Jam just about on setting point, all the fruit has come together nicely (with a little help from a potato masher).
Setting point is determined by spooning a little jam onto a cool saucer and seeing if it gels. Once at this stage it needs to be potted quickly into hot and sterilised jam safe jars.

raspberry gooseberry pear jam

Lots of people have complex systems for sterilising their jam pots, but I err on the side of laziness. I use the dishwasher. It works great.

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