Saturday, July 25, 2009

we be jammin' (adventures in canning...)

Over the 4th of July weekend, Ryan and I not only got to spend some quality time with our families, but we also bravely faced spiders, mosquitoes and thorns for a couple hours to get a few gallons of fresh, hand-picked wild raspberries. Last year we froze what we picked and gave some to Ryan's aunt Deb to make jelly. Although all of the jelly offerings Ryan's family has shared over the years have been nothing less than delectable, Ryan and I are both jam lovers. We like the seeds. So this year, I decided to try my hand at my own seedy (yet classy) raspberry jam.

For Christmas, Ryan's mom gave me some canning supplies as well as the Blue Book -- THE book for canning, freezing and drying.  I referenced the Blue Book for raspberry jam. The berry to sugar ratio was insane! (9 cups berries to 6 cups sugar) I decided to take things into my own hands and use a 6.5 cups berries to 2 cups sugar ratio. Traditionalists might get their hackles up at this and say something such as "But how will you know that it will set if you don't follow the recipe exactly?!?!" Answer: faith. And willingness to participate in some trial and error.

Check out this big pot o' hand-picked wild raspberries!

And in goes a more 'acceptable' amount of organic, natural sugar.

Steamy, jammy goodness. That set up just fine, thank you.

 Through the funnel and into the jelly (JAM) jar...

A delightful hot water bath.

The finished product! Delicious, if I do say so myself. And amazingly seedy. Come on over and try some!!

Overall, our first jammin' experience seems to have gone well. I guess the true test will be when we open a jar months from now. I think the most rewarding part of the whole weekend was getting to hear stories from Ryan's grandpa Mills. He happens to be the only grandparent either of us have between us. He spontaneously started telling us stories about when he and Ryan's grandma started dating. It was unexpected, but definitely wonderful. Hopefully we will get to hear even more another day on the Rochester farm...

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