My mother is famous. Or maybe infamous? Her raspberry jam is definitely famous. I have friends who clamor and beg for “Nola’s raspberry jam” or any of her amazing preserves. It’s in mismatched jars of all different sizes and shapes; jars found at second hand stores, recycling bins and garage sales. It is the best way for her to get jars as once she fills them she gives them away.
My parents live in a retirement resort in a small townhouse. Mom (and Dad now that he’s retired) have a large garden spot and do little “pop up” gardens throughout the resort, feeding the community and the tourists fresh organic produce. I laughed one day watching Mom leave handfuls of cherry tomatoes on peoples’ doorsteps; ringing the door bell and moving onto the next. I commented about getting her some ears, since she was like the Easter Bunny. She gave me a dirty look – you know the “mom look”? The one that makes you immediately: behave, be quiet, stop picking on your little brother look? That one. I flashed her back a “I’m not scared of you… much” smile, and we continued on our way. My mother is the smartest and most generous person I know, but if I tell her so, she sort of rolls her eyes at me.
In her large garden spot she has berries: blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. The raspberry canes will take over if you let them All summer long my mother picks raspberries at least every other day, filling bags and bags for her freezer (if she doesn’t leave piles for her neighbors). Once the freezer is full, my mom makes large vats of raspberry jam. Nola’s jam is amazing; thick, sweet, bold raspberry so fruity and delicious that people have been known to eat it by the spoonful. Unfortunately is NOT paleo: added sugar and pectin (which can be paleo: some is made with fruit – some corn – so be sure to read). I wondered, “If I made it with love, could I make raspberry jam as good as my mothers? Without the sugar?”
I picked these raspberries myself, spending an afternoon in the sun, upside-down coaxing juicy raspberries so ripe that they nearly fell off the cane into a bucket. I washed and sorted the berries, took out the worms and leaves and froze them in bags just like my mom (I found a worm, which made me think of my grandfather who used to say, “It’s okay to find a worm in your berries, you only need to worry if you find half a worm”). I was spending the afternoon doing other canning, and had one empty burner. I figured it was the perfect time for a raspberry jam attempt. Mine is missing the secret ingredient: (shhhhhh… don’t tell… it’s lots of… sugar), and simmering it down took some time, the pectin from the apple peels (suggested by a friend) helped thicken, I was pretty happy with the result. Maybe one day “Holley’s rosemary raspberry jam”, will be in as much demand as “Nola’s jam”. I am aspiring to be like my mom when I grow up. But when I leave produce for my neighbors, I WILL wear bunny ears, and maybe a fluffy tail.
You may be asking yourself; “What will I put this amazing jam on living a grain free life?” Put it on: one of our pancake recipes, with some delicious baked garlic on crackers, or with some coconut milk and ice for a refreshing smoothie, and watch for an up-coming cookie recipe!
- 4 cups raspberry (previously frozen is great)
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅓ cup apple juice
- peels from one apple
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 4 jars 250ml with rings and lids
- Over medium heat thaw the raspberries, bring to a simmer, you are in this for a long haul: slow and steady is your ticket, the last thing you want is to burn this handpicked fruity goodness.
- Add honey, apple juice and continue to simmer, stirring regularly.
- After 20 minutes of simmering add rosemary and apple peels, continue to simmer, stir regularly, again, you don't want burn it.
- While the jam is reducing, and simmering, prepare the jars: sterilize, and prepare your boiling water bath.
- It took a full hour of slow simmering until I was satisfied with the thickness, a little thicker than a ketchup, not as runny as a syrup.
- Set aside and let cool a little, so you can fish out the rosemary and apple peels, if a couple stay in there, it's okay, I just tried to take out the bigger pieces.
- Spoon into jars while still hot, wipe rim, finger tighten the lid on, and immerse in a water bath 15 min (longer depending on your elevation please check this canning guide)