When I was in Portland a few weeks back, I spent a morning at the Beaverton Farmers Market with Kate Payne. We did side-by-side demos, signed books, and greeted all the nice folks who stopped by to see what we were doing with carrots (her) and strawberries (me).
By the time we finished, the market was starting to close down for the day. Kate dashed off to buy some Hood strawberries for her next demo, while I went off in search of one of the half flats of raspberries I’d seen walking by our table.
After just a little bit of wandering, I found the raspberries I was looking for. They’d been out in the heat for hours so were starting to look a tiny bit soft. The woman working the stand, pulled six of the best looking pints that she could find for me and fitted them snugly into the cardboard half flat. Then, she took two more pints and scattered them over top. She gave me a wink and said, “End of the day special.”
I ate at least a pint on the drive home (all of 25 minutes) and my parents helped polish off a second pint within the afternoon. The rest were destined for preserving. My mom and I gently tumbled each pint out onto a dinner plate and sorted through, separating out any berries that seemed to have started to go truly bad from the ones that could go into the cooking pot (we also pulled a few of the fresher looking ones to save for breakfast the next day).
We collected the berries in a roomy 4-cup measuring cup, occasionally mashing the fruit down with a fork in order to make room for more. When we were finished, we’d filled the measuring cup to the brim and still had a scant pint that were sturdy enough to last the night in the fridge.
I combined the berries with two cups of local honey and a goodly amount of lemon zest and juice in my mom’s widest pan and brought it all to an active boil. Stirring regularly, it took about half an hour to cook down and thicken (had I had some Pomona’s Pectin on hand, I may have spiked it with a bit to encourage a thicker set in less time).
When it was done, I had three half pints and one full pint of lovely, bright, honey sweetened raspberry preserves (I’m not calling it jam, because it ended up with a fairly soft set and I want to establish the correct expectations). Hooray for Oregon berries!
- 5 cups smashed raspberries
- 2 cups honey (choose something with a light flavor so that it doesn't compete with the berries)
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and five half pint jars.
- In a low, wide pan, combine the raspberries, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Place over hight heat and bring to a boil.
- Cook at an active boil for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring regularly, until the fruit thickens. This preserve is never going to be as thick as jam made with pectin, but it should develop a soft set.
- When the fruit has thickened to your liking, remove the pan from the heat.
- Funnel preserves into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and set them on a wooden cutting board or folded kitchen towel to cool.
- Once they are cool enough to handle, test lids to ensure that jars have sealed. The lids will be concave and will be firm when pressed if seals are good.
- Sealed jars are shelf stable up to one year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.