One of the unanticipated side effects of this crazy hot summer that we’ve been having is that the raspberries ripened far more quickly than expected. What normally is a harvest that is spread out over several weeks happened over a three or four day span.
In years past, our 9 or so brambles produced enough fresh raspberries for us to enjoy at any one time that we never felt overwhelmed. This year’s harvest was so plentiful and came on so fast that I found myself spending most of my free time this past week harvesting berries.
They are so rich and juicy that if you bump the plant just right, the berries drop off of the bramble. Berries this ripe will spoil in only a few days time, even when refrigerated.
Even though I have everbearing raspberries (meaning that there will be another harvest in another months or so), it would be a shame to let these plump bursts of flavor go to waste – but I wasn’t sure about what to do with the 8 cups of raspberries that were picked in just two days until I found a recipe for raspberry preserves that required little work or effort.
Normally when making a recipe such as this, as soon as the cooking has been completed, it’s put through the canning process. Because I had a relatively small amount of fruit, I opted to package it in smaller jars that could be shared with friends right now, as opposed to stored for a long time.
Having grown up canning each summer, I can attest that it is a long and hot process, but it is one that has been done for many generations. Should you wish to can your preserves so that you are able to enjoy them through the long winter, your local County Extension agency has resources and information to guide you in canning safely.
Olde Fashioned Raspberry Preserves
Yield: Makes 1 cup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup raspberries
(Quantities can be increased so long as a 1:1 ratio of fruit and sugar is maintained.)
- Place sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in a 250°F (120°C) oven for 15 minutes. (Warm sugar dissolves better.)
- Rinse berries to remove any foreign or spoiled bits. Place berries into a stainless steel or other non-reactive saucepan. Bring fruit to a full boil over high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat. Stirring continually, boil hard for one minute.
- Remove warming sugar from the over (don’t forget the pan will be hot!) Add sugar to the fruit mixture and return to a boil. Cook until the mixture forms a gel, about five minutes.
- To determine if your preserves are done cooking, use the spoon test: Dip a cool metal spoon into the hot mix, and quickly lift it out and away from the steam. Holding the spoon horizontally, look to see that the streams from each edge of the spoon run together and form thick drops from the edge of the spoon, somewhat like cool syrup.
- If you are canning, ladle the preserves into sterilized jars and process as directed per your local County Extension agency.
- Otherwise, allow to cool and ladle into storage containers and refrigerate immediately. Consume within the next week or so.
You may notice that preserves made with this recipe have an intense flavor – this is due to not having added any fruit pectin. While pectin aids in jelling it requires more sugar, which dilutes the fruit flavors. Though this process requires more attention when cooking, the old-fashioned, fruity result is well worth the effort.
Don’t miss out on the 3rd annual NoCo Urban Homestead Tour taking place this Saturday, July 30th. If you’ve ever wondered about or are interested any of the aspects of homesteading, you will certainly want to attend.
Tickets are $15 for individuals (12 and under are free), and provide access to six individual homesteads, all single family properties that are less than 1 acre in size, for you to wander and discover ideas that you can use in your own living space. Tickets can be purchased here, and all proceeds benefit the Gardens on Spring Creek & Loveland Youth Gardeners.
Until next time, may your knees be green, and your spirits light.