We are now half way through the first week of our summer break and I'm really appreciating this opportunity to wind down and relax. The weather is still being good to us and already we have enjoyed some trips to the park, a picnic, a woodland walk and a visit to some very beautiful gardens. I'm sure that having a constant (and very enthusiastic) companion by my side for the next six weeks is going be a little exhausting at times but I'm determined to make the most of this precious time together. Not having to rush around each morning has become more than agreeable and I am quite happy to indulge myself knowing life will be hectic enough again once September arrives.
At the end of last week, and just before school finished for the summer, I managed to get out and collect some raspberries. I wasn't sure whether there would be many around this year with the weather having been so dry, but I didn't need to be worried as there were plenty on offer. I always know when raspberry season is upon us, as our walks take longer than usual with Lily stopping constantly to eat this delicious and sweet little fruit. And of course, half the joy is in having picked them herself.
I set aside some time straight after work, and took myself off to a lovely and quiet spot where I had noticed some raspberries earlier in the week whilst out for a run. Far too hot to wear my long sleeved top, I ended the afternoon a little more scratched and sore than when I started, mainly thanks to my determination to get the best raspberries, but it was still worth it for the boxes of fruit I took home with me.
And the reason for all my efforts? Delicious raspberry jam. Following last year's failed strawberry crop and the need to actually purchase some for my jam making, this year I was determined to use completely fresh, hand picked (by myself) fruit. And I really much prefer raspberry jam anyway.
I managed to gather a little over 2kg of fruit and made my jam in two lots as I don't have a pan large enough to do it all in one batch. Altogether it made over ten jars of jam.
For each batch you will need...
Just over 1kg of raspberries (I used 1.1kg. If you use 1kg then I suggest you use a little less sugar)
1kg bag of granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon
Knob of butter
Put the washed raspberries in a large pan and heat gently, stirring all the while until the fruit softens, the juices are released, and it turns this amazing glossy red colour.
Add the sugar, pectin and lemon juice, then simmer gently until the sugar is dissolved.
Add a knob of butter and bring to a rolling boil for around five minutes. Do the saucer test and boil slightly longer if necessary.
(I found five minutes was perfect)
Being careful not to splash yourself, pour into sterilised jars and cover.
Spread it on hot buttery toast and enjoy.
This is a really simple and delicious recipe with just the right amount of set.