I tried a little experiment today. Yesterday, Child Two baked the most delicious scones, which seemed like the perfect moment to get out my homemade apricot and strawberry jams (yep, I should definitely get a day job). Naturally, both of my offspring preferred to slather the gorgeous scones with Waitrose’s raspberry jam instead. And not even some posh kind of jam – it was from their ‘essentials’ range, where they can’t even be bothered to design a whole label, preferring a vague line drawing of the fruit in one corner and lots of white space. I felt quite huffy. My jam is actually rather good.
I’m afraid the cost of making jam out of fresh raspberries seems just too heinous – they are about £2 or £3 for the mingiest punnet you’ve ever seen, so buying the requisite kilo or so could cost as much as a family car. Well, our family car anyway. So off I went this morning to Lidl, which sells some really delicious frozen raspberries. They come in a rather suspicious-looking bag, with a label that gives Waitrose quite a run for its money on the cheapness front, but they are completely yummy. We’ve had them, defrosted, in lots of sponge cakes and puddings since I discovered them.
Today, I made them into jam. So far, it’s looking good – lovely colour, nice set (thanks to me finally investing in a jam thermometer after years of flinging spoonfuls of boiling liquid onto frozen saucers, not much fun and very messy) but will Child One and Child Two actually eat it? Hmm, I suspect they may develop a strange new passion for blueberry jam (safely bought from Ikea) if I let on it’s home made. But I’m not sure I’m sneaky enough to decant it into the old Waitrose jar and attempt to hoodwink them. I’ll keep you posted.
To make raspberry jam:
2 bags frozen raspberries (1 kilo)
1 kilo granulated sugar
Preheat oven to Gas 4, 180 C
Put several saucers in the freezer
Heat the frozen raspberries in a large pan. Be careful they don’t scorch. After a while the juices will start to run. Alternatively, you can wait for them to defrost but I was too impatient. Put the sugar in an heat-proof dish and pop it into the oven while the raspberries soften. When the raspberries are nice and liquid, take out the sugar, tip it into the pan and simmer it with the raspberries. Now turn off the oven and put in four or five washed jam jars to sterilise.
Stir your fruit mixture (very gently unless you don’t want whole raspberries in the jam) until you can no longer see sugar crystals on the back of the spoon. Then hike up the temperature to the max and let the mixture boil madly and frankly rather frighteningly for about ten minutes. Either check the temperature with a jam thermometer (available from big supermarkets and online) or start putting spoonfuls of jam onto your chilled saucers. Jam sets at 104 degrees. You will know yours is ready if, after 30 seconds on the saucer, the jam crinkles when you push it gently with your little finger.
When that tricky bit is over, you can relax and turn off the heat. Leave the jam to calm down for 15 minutes. This will stop all the fruit rising to the top when you put it in jars. When it’s ready, pour or ladle it into your hot jam jars, either screw on the lids or cover with circles of cellophane or greaseproof paper, and prepare to be worshipped far and wide as a domestic goddess. Unless you’re related to my children, of course. Sniff