Friday, August 13, 2010

Raspberry Fields Forever

Market Day: August 11
At this week's market: tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, corn, eggplant, green peppers, herbs of all kinds, watermelon, cantaloupe, salad mix, mizuna, chard, kale, raspberries.

What I'd thought would be a long, lazy summer is flying by faster than I'd bargained for. Mid-August, already? Have you been to the beach yet? Gone berry-picking? Sat on a dock for a few hours? Seen Inception? Eaten enough tomatoes? I certainly haven't. As I walked through the market this week, I thought about how the strawberries and cherries were long over, and how I hadn't preserved a single jar of them, and how I didn't want to make the same mistake with the raspberries and the tomatoes I saw all around me. Granted, stirring a boiling pan of jam or tomato sauce may not be your idea of the best way to spend an August day, but imagine how happy you'll be to have the results, sometime around the middle of February.

Flush with resolution and dreams of preserves, I came into the kitchen to find that Chef Cobi had had a similar idea; I found her cooking up 40 pounds of raspberries into jam, which would be given away, in jewel-like 4-oz jars, as favors at a wedding this weekend. The raspberries had come from Kimball Fruit Farm and were large and ripe and perfumey. I ate a few; they tasted like summer.

Chef Cobi's Raspberry Jam
Makes about eight 8-ounce jars

4 cups raspberries
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (3-ounce) pouch liquid pectin

In an 8-quart pan, combine the raspberries, lemon juice and sugar.

Over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that can't be stirred down, stirring constantly. Stir in the entire contents of the pectin pouch. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Skim off any foam.

To prevent the jam from separating in the jars, allow the jam to cool 5 minutes before filling the jars. Gently stir the jam every minute or so to distribute the fruit. Ladle the jam into sterilized hot jars leaving 1/4 -inch head space. Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean damp cloth. Cover with hot lids and apply screw rings. Process half-pint jars in a 200°F (93°C) water bath for 10 minutes, pint jars for 15 minutes.

After the water bath, carefully remove the jars from the water and set them on a flat surface covered with a clean dish cloth. Once they are completely cool, label them and place the in a cool dark place.

For more information on step-by-step canning procedures, including how to sterilize jars, go to

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