Thursday, October 1, 2009

Liquid Sunshine


My son is a self-professed raspberry fiend. During the summer, his shirts routinely return from camp stained with the ripe red juices from the berries packed in his lunch. We have to buy 2 pints on our Saturday market visits because one almost never makes it to the car, if that far. And while he loves red raspberries and black raspberries, he holds the golden variety in highest regard.


The golden raspberry is a natural variant of the raspberry, whose color results from the expression of recessive genes for anthocyanin pigment and ranges from light yellow to salmon. Its taste is more delicate and less tart.

Last Saturday, I picked up our winter supply of raspberries. While I had originally planned to go halfsie on the golden and red, the look on Thor’s face was sheer bliss when we learned that the farmer had enough to give us a full flat of golden. Half found their way into the freezer – little bubbles of sweetness that will flavor smoothies, sauces and desserts over the colder months. The rest became jam.

While I’ve made countless jars of red raspberry jam, none of them could compare to what resulted from the cooking down of these little pink jewels. The product is like pure sunshine with a clear pink hue. The flavor is indescribable, a rounded sweetness with just a touch of tart. My only regret is not making more when I had the chance. Like our raspberry purchases, it's always better to have two as they'll never last as long as you thought they would.

Golden Raspberry Jam
Makes 10 half-pint jars

5 pints golden raspberries
8 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Sterilize 10 half-pint jam jars, lids and rings in boiling water for 10 minutes. Set a small plate in the freezer. Rinse the raspberries in a colander. Mix together the raspberries and sugar in a large non-aluminum pot. Set the pot over medium-high heat and let the sugar dissolve, crushing the berries with a wooden spoon. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to high. The berries will produce a lot of foam, skim it off with a fine mesh skimmer. Once you have skimmed almost all of the foam (this will take about 15-20 minutes), the mixture will be clear. Stir in the lemon juice. Test the consistency by removing the plate from the freezer. Spoon a small amount of hot jam onto the plate and return to the freezer. After five minutes, remove the plate and check the jam. The jam is done if it only dribbles down the plate when tilted. Drain the jars. Fill them with hot jam and seal with the rings and lids. Cool upside down on a clean dish towel and then store in a cool, dark place.

Kids Cooking Tips
Making jam with kids is a dicey proposition given the high heat needed to cook it. I limit Thor's involvement to measuring and mashing. When they're done, he helps me label the jars.

Golden raspberries from Ellis Farms
Fair trade sugar from Wholesome Sweetener

For more canning adventures, check out my post for The Local Beet.

Posted as part of Fight Back Friday.


  1. I also learned to make raspberry jam this summer. And then I couldn't stop making it. I gave jars to all my family members. And I have about seven jars -- which I hope will take us through the winter. Also jarred bluberry syrup. And I am not jarring apple sauce from our backyard apple tree. I have bigger and better plans for next year.

  2. Blog looks great Melissa. I am off to harvest (read forage, or perhaps just take) the remainder of two wild apple trees in Hinsdale tommorow and am thinking about apple butters. Any thoughts? I have good sage, pineapple sage, tarragon and thyme in the garden as well as white beets and rosemary. Apple / Sage Butter? Apple Beet Rosemary with Cinnamon? Any thoughts are welcome, and I will let you know what I come up with.

    I have some other preserves for you too for the next time we catch up.

  3. Damien,

    I would think the apple sage butter would be really terrific. I love using herbs in my preserves. Two that are pretty standard in my repetoire are blueberry-cinnamon and apricot-lavender.

    Looking forward to the preserves!

  4. Caitlin,

    The blueberry syrup sounds delicious. Blueberry sodas all winter long.

    Thanks for posting.


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