On Monday, I plan to take my kids and go berrying. There is a great little farm up north of here where you can pick all kinds of berries when they are in season, and now is the season for fall raspberries. I have heard that the warm summer is making the berries go fast, so if you were planning to wait until late September, you may want to rethink that strategy. In any case, when we get the berries home, I plan to have at least a couple of gallons of them. Here’s what I’ll do with them:
First, I’ll make raspberry jam. If you use the standard package of Certa or Sure-jell (which are brand names of pectin), the recipe/instructions are right there, but here it is in a nutshell: put 5 c. of raspberries (pick through them and remove any leaves, stems, bugs, etc.) in a stock pot over a medium to high burner (you can set it higher if you have a gas stove–if you’re on electric burners, play it safe and set it lower). Stir continuously until the fruit is boiling. Add the package of pectin and stir in. Allow to come back to a boil. Add 7 c. of sugar quickly, stirring in as you pour. Keep stirring until it comes to a full rolling boil (that doesn’t subside when you stir). Stir for another minute, then remove from heat. Pour into clean canning jars, put lids and rings on, and turn upside down for 15 minutes. The turn right side up and allow to cool on a wire rack, towel, or paper bag. You will hear the lids pop as they seal. This recipe usually yields me about 6 pint jars, or 12 or so half-pints–I like to use the half-pints better, because then I have a lot of jars and can give some away as Christmas presents or hostess gifts.
For my next batch, I’ll make raspberry syrup–you’ve seen me make peach syrup already, and the method is just the same here. Use equal parts raspberries and sugar. First allow the fruit to boil, then add the sugar and stir it in. Let it come back to full rolling boil, then remove from heat and put into jars and do the upside down sterilize-the-lid thing for 15 minutes. Let cool for several hours. (Notice that the only thing different between jam and syrup is the pectin. And I should note–if you have very acidic fruit–like early blueberries, or tart currants, you may still end up with jam, even without the pectin.)
And finally, I’ll make something wonderful that I discovered last year, which deserves its very own post–Framboise, a raspberry liqueur made with raspberries and (in this case) vodka. I also use the raspberries from that recipe, after they’ve steeped in the vodka for 2 months, to make my own invention, Wizbang Syrup. Just wait–it’s unbelievable!