Saturday, September 13, 2008

Raspberry JAM!

I'm not as much of a forager/preserver as I perhaps should be, especially living in a place with so much to offer the hunter-gatherer types. We have a freezer full of rockfish and that's about it...except for raspberry jam. It's a huge staple around here, both on toast in the morning and pb&j's for sack lunches. We need about 24 pints to make it through winter...and if you know anything about alaskan winters you'll completely understand why this is so important! This year was almost a bust in that department...normally we would have been picking mid-august, but it wasn't until a week ago that they finally started to pop. Of course the rain and stormy weather kept me from getting out on Wed. my day, I was relieved to get a little break in the weather to get out today, and boy was it fun! My good friend Jane (owner of the best yard in Homer!) has the most amazing raspberry patch I have ever seen...and in the dozen years I've known her, the berries are always plentiful and her generosity at letting so many of us come to pick is the stuff of legend. The stalks are 6 feet high and the berries the size of my thumb (and then some!) all surrounding a lovely patch of grass looking over the bay with a cottonwood tree so big it has a buoy swing (the alaskan equivelent of a tire swing) hanging from it's branches. The kids run around and play while the grown-ups chat and pick furiously. I got so worked up talking about Sarah Palin I had three buckets full before I knew it! At least she's good for something,eh?
Enough politics...let's make jam!

First we put our clean jars in a big pan half filled with water, put the lid on and set it to boiling. The lids go into a smaller pan also half filled with water and also set to boiling. Then we measured 4 cups of berries and 6 1/2 cups of sugar into our stainless pot and brought it to a rolling boil, stirring most of the time. (daughter Jane was mostly a big help at this) add 1 packet of liquid pectin and boil and stir for exactly one minute. turn off heat. using tongs, pull jars from hot water bath and fill to within 1/4 inch from the rim. Wipe the rim of each jar CAREFULLY and again with the tongs pull the lids out of smaller pot placing them on the hot jars and securing with the screw on metal rings. I like to leave them on a towel at this point until they cool completely when we will check the seals and store away in a cool dark spot.
We got our two cases done just in time to catch our good friend Tom Kizzia appear on CNN to help shed a little light on all this Sarah MADNESS!
Jam is done...back to politics!

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