I made jam. A gorgeous, deep ruby red raspberry jam. The kind of ruby red you get only when you make it at home.
I am not a big jam eater, so I never really venture into this territory. I do have a few books on canning and jam making, in the hope that one day I might just start enjoying them, or maybe be the kind of person who gifts jam in pretty Weck jars. As for when I do buy some jam, it’s usually because I give in to the gorgeous package design and type – after which it sits in the refrigerator for weeks.
But things changed a bit recently. I began to enjoy peanut butter on a slice of pillowy brioche, and then soon after, peanut butter and jam together. I’d sometimes add chocolate sprinkles too. I was going through a jar of peanut butter in a week and raspberry jam in two. I was surprised at the rate at which the level of jam in the jar was reducing. I finally liked jam.
A few weeks ago, I went to the farm to pick the last few raspberries of the season to make my own jam, and finally put my copper jam pan to use.
Some notes on making jam in copper jam pan or bassin:
- Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and great for making jam. When using copper the difference between the the temperature on the bottom of pan and top of pan is no more than 2-3C, thus cooking the jam evenly.
- The structure of a jam pan is such that it has a wide base and angled sides. This means that the surface area for evaporation is larger, thus cooking out the jam faster and retaining the natural colour and flavour of the fruit better.
- There are some concerns on copper toxicity – the acidity from the fruit may react with the copper (in turn cleaning the jam pan), so the best way to deal with this is to mix the sugar and fruit together before adding it to the pan.
- Copper helps thicken the jam, so you don’t need to add extra pectin or use jam sugar (sugar with pectin added).
- You don’t have to have a copper jam pan, but you must use s thick bottomed pan. Once, I used thin bottomed stainless steel pan to make blackberry jam, and it was a disaster. Even though I stirred the jam from time to time, the jam stuck to the bottom of the pan and burned and the smell permeated through the jam.
Another thing about jams is that I like the kind that aren’t too sweet. The kind that would probably a bit runny, but where you can taste the fruit over the sugar. Some of the best jam I’ve tried was like that from a lady who made jams at home and sold them from a little Piaggio near Métro Jourdain. She made us taste every single variety of her jam, and made us guess the flavour – from the simple strawberry to the fascinating green tomato. When I made jam, I thought about how fresh those flavours tasted and where the sugar was a mere carrier and preservative that would help bottle up the flavours of the season. For my jam, I used 700g of fruit with 400g of sugar. And although I expected this to be runnier, it turned out pretty thick because I later found out that the copper helps thicken the jam.
You can also use frozen raspberries for the recipe, the berries will take a little longer to break down, but you can continue cooking in the exact same method.
- 700g raspberries
- 400g sugar
- 2 jam jars, sterlisied in boiling water for 10 minutes
- In a thick bottomed pan, add the raspberries and cook gently until they break down. (if using a copper pan, mix half the sugar with the raspberries)
- Next add the sugar, and bring it to a gentle boil. Skim off the froth and stir from time to time.
- To test for doneness, a thermometer should read 105C, or when you pinch the jam between your thumb and forefinger, it should form a thread. You can use the cold saucer test as well - pour some jam into a cold saucer, and once cooled it should form a skin.
- In about 15-20 minutes the jam will be ready. Pour hot jam into the sterilised jam jars, screw the lid on tightly, and turn it upside down to seal. This will create a vacuum and give your jam a year's shelf life.
- Spread on warm toasted rye bread smeared with cold butter or on brioche with peanut butter.