I feel a pressing urge to write all of my summer related posts relatively soon as the weather is already noticeably cooler and the stores are filled with pumpkin decor! So, in a salute to summer I present to you: Jam! More specifically, black-raspberry jam or as we (my boyfriend and I) call them, black-caps!
Although most things I do are an independent venture or challenge I can in no way take all of the credit for this delectable jam. As a matter of fact, it was earlier mentioned boyfriend Andy who came up with the idea. Seeing as our back lawn was being taken over by an ever-growing black cap bush he suggested that we collect the berries for jam, therefore using what would otherwise be a feast for crows (GOT reference for my fellow nerds).
And so we undertook a canning adventure. I wouldn’t say canning is difficult per say, but it is definitely a lot of work and more specifically, careful work. Thankfully there were two of us so we were able to designate tasks and concentrate on separate pieces.
- The first step is obviously to collect the berries. Simple enough, if not time-consuming. This was one of my tasks.
2. The next step is to make the actual jam. As it turns out, black raspberry jam is essentially just sugar, with some sugar thrown in with a dash of black raspberry. Though a recipe we found called for 7 cups of sugar per 4 cups of berries, we scaled it back and did a cup for a cup. For one batch we would use 4 cups of berries mixed with 4 cups of sugar (I used a fork to integrate the two ingredients).
3. Once you have your mixture, you must proceed to heating it and bringing it to a boil. You want to be sure you boil it long enough to thicken but not so long that you ruin your jam. A good way to test it is by placing some of the mixture onto a spoon (cold from being in the freezer) and running your finger across it. If your finger leaves a solid pathway that does not run but can still drip off the spoon, then your jam is boiled enough. (This decision making was an Andy task).
4. When your jam is ready you can finally pour it into your sanitized canning jars. (We sanitized our jars by washing them thoroughly and then baking both jars and tops at a high heat for at least 20 minutes). If the metal tops of the jars decompress after setting you know that your jars have sealed effectively. If you choose this method, be very careful when putting the tops on as all components of the jar are HOT! Thankfully, I was not the one doing this step.
Again, not necessarily difficult work but there is a little bit of effort to it! But now we will have the pleasure of enjoying summer berries deep into the cold winter of central New York!