Summer in Maine is racing to a close. We get up in the morning and wish we hadn’t left the windows open all night. We put on a sweatshirt to take the dog out and don’t bother with the iced coffee anymore. It is still getting warm during the day, don’t get me wrong. It is warm enough to be unpleasant to work in the yard for more than an hour or two. I got a little sunburn earlier this week mowing, and had to come in for a halftime cold beverage and a little lie down on the cool tile. Aside from the cool nights, the sure fire sign that summer is ending are the berries. Berries are slipping out of the prime spot to be replaced by those late summer stone fruits. And I hate that. Okay, “hate” is a bit strong. But it makes me sad enough that I reach for a way to extend the life of summer. There is only one way forward… JAM!
Specifically Freezer Jam, which is a no cook method that you store in the freezer rather than in the pantry. The pros are that it has a brighter, fresher flavor, doesn’t require processing the jars and pretty much never fails. The cons are that you have to store it in the freezer. That’s it; the only con that I can think of. This freezer jam uses pectin, which occurs naturally in fruit and causes it to jell when cooked. By cooking the pectin and then adding it to the berries and sugar, you can avoid heating the berries and you preserve their summer bright perfection.
Raspberries are my favorite fruit, and I LOVE fruit. For this recipe, I wanted to move closer to the sweet-savory divide. Freezer jam especially leans sweet – don’t gasp too hard when you see how much sugar is in this – but adding an herbal note helps to balance that out. If Herby-fruit is not your thing – don’t worry! You can totally leave out the thyme and everything will still be delish! Just throw the last ¼ cup of sugar in the with rest. I used freezer safe glass jars because I try to avoid using plastic. If you follow this plan, I suggest that you leave about ¼ inch of headroom in each jar. If you aren’t feeling brave, you can freeze the jars without the lids. Once the jam is frozen and has expanded (it won’t really), put the lids on to avoid burn.
Raspberry – Thyme Freezer JamCourse: SweetsDifficulty: Easy
Yields 8 Cups of Jam
3 C Crushed Raspberries (800g / 28.5oz)
5 1/4 C Sugar; Divided (1120g / 40oz)
3 Tbl Fresh Thyme Leaves (7g / .25oz)
1/3 C Pectin* (50g / 1.75oz)
3/4 C Water (175ml)
- Combine the Crushed Raspberries with 5 Cups of Sugar (1060g / 38oz) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until completely combined; no pockets of dry sugar.
- In a food processor, combine the remaining 1/4 C of Sugar (60g / 2oz) with the Thyme leaves. Pulse until the Sugar starts to clump, and the Thyme is fragrant, about 5-7 pulses. Add the Thyme Sugar to the Raspberry-Sugar mixture and mix to combine.
- Allow the Raspberry-Sugar-Thyme mixture to stand for 10 minutes. Stir on low for 10 seconds every couple of minutes. The mixture will by much more wet as the fruit releases it’s juice, and the bulk of the sugar will have dissolved, but the mixture will still be grainy, so don’t worry.
- In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the pectin and the water, whisk to combine. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. The mixture will be cloudy and then become clear. Boil for exactly 1 minute.
- With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the hot Pectin into the Raspberries. Let the mixer run, on low, until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Moving quickly and using a large measuring cup with a spout, dip the warm jam from the mixing bowl and pour into clean jars, filling to within half and inch or so of the top. The Jam will start to set as it cools and get harder to pour.
- Clean the rims of the jars with a damp towel and attach the lids.
- Allow the jam to cool completely, even overnight. If you are going to use a jar right away, put it in the fridge. Put the rest in the freezer. The jam will keep for several weeks in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer (although I have pushed it longer and it was fine).
Measuring Cups or Food Scale
Stand Mixer Fitted with Paddle Attachment
Small, Heavy Sauce Pan
Large Measuring Cup
8 Clean, Half Pint Jars with New Lids
- * Pectin is sold in either boxes with enough for a single batch or in a canister where you will need to measure your own. Be sure to get regular pectin, and not the kind made for low-sugar recipes.