Wild raspberry jam is one of our favorites. Most years we have picked enough to make two or three batches plus plenty of fresh berries to top ice cream on hot days. But when summer rains fail to arrive on time, picking enough berries for even one batch can be a challenge. The situation was particularly dire a few years ago. We picked a cup and froze the berries, then another from the same small patch near the brook, but we never got enough for a full recipe. The blackberry crop was miserable as well.
Since we usually send jams and jellies in goody packages to our siblings for Christmas, we needed to do something. I was so desperate that I even considered buying tame raspberries. However, since we had a lot of frozen cranberries, I decided to experiment with the few raspberries we had collected. The result was a resounding success, with some folks saying that they liked the combination better than plain raspberry jam.
This year our problem was scheduling visits to the cabin when the berries were ripe. We were saved by a friend who invited me to pick all the raspberries I needed from his garden. I made two batches of raspberry jam and Jerri froze two cartons of crushed raspberries ready to make cranberry raspberry jam when cranberries came into season.
Last Sunday we stopped at a cranberry marsh west of Stone Lake, Wisconsin and bought ten pounds of beautiful berries. Tuesday we made 23 jars of cranberry raspberry jam. And again it was delicious.
Here is how to do it.
6 cups chopped cranberries
2 cups crushed wild or tame raspberries
7 1/2 cups sugar, measured into a bowl.
1 pouch Certo fruit pectin
1/2 tsp. butter
Paraffin wax to seal the jars
First, wash and sterilize enough jelly jars to hold 9 cups. You can sterilize the washed jars by standing them upside down in a 9 x 13 inch cake pan on the the range. Pour about an inch of hot water into the pan, turn on the heat and bring the water to boiling. Turn off the heat and leave the jars in the water until shortly before you need to fill them. Put a slab of paraffin into a small sauce pan and set aside.
Be sure that all the berries have been washed and picked over. Open the Certo pouch and stand it in a cup or glass where you can reach it easily when the time comes to add the pectin.
Chop the cranberries by hand or in a blender or food processor. I use a blender briefly, then quarter any cranberries that remain whole. Do not purée the berries. Crush the raspberries. Put the prepared fruit into a Dutch oven and add the sugar and butter. Stir the sugar into the fruit and turn the heat on low. As liquid is released, raise the heat, keep stirring and bring the jam to a full rolling boil (a boil that keeps bubbling when you stir it). Stir in the pectin and return the jam to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove the jam from the heat and skim off any foam. A gravy ladle works great for this. Put the sauce pan with the paraffin to begin melting on a burner under very low heat. Be careful not to heat the paraffin more than just to melt it. Using a mitt or pot holder, remove the hot jars from the pan and allow them to drain briefly on a rack, then stand them upright on waxed paper. Using a dipper and a funnel, fill the hot jars, leaving 1/3 to 1/2 inch head space. If necessary, use a piece of moistened paper towel to remove any dribbled jam from the inside of the tops of the jars.
Using a tablespoon, put a thin layer of melted paraffin on top of the jam in each jar and allow the jam to cool without moving it. After the jam is well cooled, add a second thin layer of paraffin.
Close the tops of the jars with screw caps or plastic wrap tied in place.
NOTE: You can use unsweetened frozen raspberries from your local supermarket. Thaw and crush the berries before making the jam.