You know how some people have those pets, the ones you can shake a little bag of treats and the pet comes tearing around a corner, skidding in a tangle of paws and tails, to come to a decidedly unglamorous, drooling heap at the feet of whomever holds the goods??
My daughter is like that pet. Only much less drooly. All I have to do is hollar, “fresh raspberries!”, and she comes from wherever she is, practically panting with anticipation. She will then snack on those raspberries until her tummy hurts, and her lips are stained that vibrant pinky-red. So dedicated is her love of these adorable ruby gems that she has her own method of optimal raspberry-to-mouth delivery down pat, which involves a complicated system of wearing the raspberries like little hats on her fingertips, some kind of secret chant, which I’ve never actually made out the words for, and a methodical pop, pop, pop, as raspberries disappear, one after another in her mouth. She is a raspberry purist in the best way possible. And she’s all mine. Sorry, guys, this one is taken!
Every summer my daughter counts down the days until raspberry picking day. I’d like to think it’s because it’s, well, with me, but I have the sneaking suspicion it has more to do with the raspberry smorgasbord than spending quality time with the old mom. Her basket never quite fills, but her tummy definitely does, which is completed by a mouth-filled mumbled rendition of “one for the basket, three for me” (I’d like to take a moment to apologize to all the berry farms I’ve patronized over the years: you just couldn’t know that the cute little girl with the mischievous smile was going to eat a huge chunk of your raspberry profits. You just couldn’t…) It’s hard to take her seriously, berry- juice flecked, with seeds in her teeth, as she attempts to assure me that she’s actually storing the raspberries in her stomach, instead of the basket, so she won’t accidentally knock them over: but I’m on to her.
I wouldn’t change a thing about raspberry season at our place, except, maybe employing an extra body to help me pick the berries, since my current companion is cutting into my profits!
Here are two really easy ways to extend the raspberry season. All you need are some raspberries and a strong desire to make some amazing PB&J sandwiches!
What you need:
4 cups raspberries
3 cups sugar
peelings from an apple*
*apple peelings contain a lot of natural pectin, which helps to thicken the raspberries. Smart, right?!?
Put the three teaspoons in the fridge about an hour before you plan to make the jam. You will need them later to test the gel of your raspberries.
Mash together raspberries and sugar in a large saucepan with high sides. Add apple peelings. Bring to boil, and stir every minute or so. Continue to keep mixture at rolling boil until jam reaches the gel stage. This should take about five minutes, but keep an eye on it.
After about five minutes of rolling boil, the jam should still be bubbling, but the bubbles should appear a little larger and seem to grow more slowly. This is a good sign! It means your jam is becoming, well, jam!
Grab a spoon from the fridge, dip it into the jam and scoop out a little blob, about the size of a dime. Leave the spoon to sit on the counter for a minute, then push your fingertip into the edge of the jam on the spoon. If your jam has gelled, the blob on the spoon should wrinkle a bit on top, like it’s formed a very thin skin. If the jam is still very liquidy, continue to boil it for another two minutes, then repeat the same process with the spoon.
Once the jam has gelled, pour it into sterilized jam jars, wipe any excess from the lids, then screw on lids.
If you are planning on storing the jam, you will have to can the jars. Here’s a good guide on beginner canning from Bernardin for both low and high acid foods .
You can skip the canning step if you can eat all that jam in a month. Just throw the jars in the fridge.
Raspberry Infused Vodka
This is amazing, even on its own (on the rocks, of course!) or cut with a little sparkling water. The longer you leave the raspberries to infuse, the stronger the raspberry flavour and intense pink colour will be.
What you need:
1 cup raspberries, lightly mashed
3 cups vodka, preferably a brand you actually like the taste of
Large glass jar with lid.
Put raspberries in jar.
Pour vodka over top.
Screw on lid, then shake to combine.
Store in cool, dark place for about a week.
Strain vodka and store in clean glass container.
Happy pink-stained smiles!