Living with the seasons: June

June, the month of abundance! Up until now we have been relying mainly on winter crops, plus a few early spring crops like lettuce and asparagus. Now, the garden has bloomed into production. For us, the month of June has been the month of raspberries!

Our raspberry canes have produced around 5kg of raspberries so far and we have been feverishly making jam. We have also made raspberry cakes, kombucha, pancakes… Each day we excitedly escape to the garden with larger and larger bowls in hand. Some days it takes us 45 mins to collect them all. There is a lot of rummaging in ever wilder bushes, finding spiders and leaves in our hair hours after, with berry stained fingers and full bellies!

Each day after picking we wash the berries, take off any stalks, discard any berries that are over ripe and ‘test’ for tasty quality control. Then we freeze most of them, keeping some for eating that day. A few harvests later it’s jam making time:

  • 1kg Raspberries 
  • 1kg White Sugar
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 1 very large saucepan or 2 large ones
  • Sieve 
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • Heat resistant spatula
  • 4 or 5 Sterilised jars 
  • A cold plate (put in the fridge/freezer before starting)

Before starting your jam make sure you have everything you need ready and to hand. 

Ensure that you have washed and sterilised your jars. We use a sterilising powder, but I believe you can also use the in the oven or microwave.

If you are using frozen raspberries, make sure they are defrosted first. 

Take half of your berries and lemon juice and bring to a boil in the pan, stirring to avoid it sticking to the bottom. Boil for 5 mins and take off the heat.

Sieve the mixture and, using the spatula, push through as much pulp as possible. Reserve the juice. 

Add the deseeded mixture back into the sauce pan and add the remaining raspberries and sugar to the pan. Bear in mind that once this jam is boiling it will bubble up to around 3 times the size – so a BIG pan is very much needed! Unless you want boiling raspberries and sugar all over you and your stove… trust me…

Bring this mixture to the boil for 5 mins, again making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. You want to get this as hot as you can so be careful, wear an apron or gloves… do what you have to do to not to get a jammy burn. If you have a thermometer you can test the temperature, jam sets at 105C.

Spoon out some jam onto your cold plate and stick it in the fridge. After a few moments whip it out and give it a poke. If the mixture wrinkles your jam is set! If not just keep boiling until it does. 

Once you jam is done, take it off the heat and it chill for a moment. 

You want to get your jam into the jars while it is still pretty hot. If you have a jam funnel for jars, go right ahead and jam those babies up. If you dont have one then I found the best way is to use a small jug to to dip into the jam and pour into the jars. The jug can get a bit messy but the jars should stay relatively mess free. Screw on your lids and leave them to cool and set. 

Once cooled, label your jars with what it is and when you made it. Most importantly, enjoy!

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