August has been a very busy month for us with camping, weddings, traveling and more camping. It never seems to end. I resigned to myself that I just wasn't going to do any canning this year. There just didn't seem to be any time to drive out to the berry farms and go picking. But Two days before we were about to leave for Los Angeles, McKay decided we were going berry picking as a family. I didn't argue and thought, well we could eat most of the berries and freeze the rest. The berries were too delicious not to preserve so after spending half the day at the berry farm, I spent the other half making jam. The raspberries were particularly and incredibly delectable.
I've spend a few years making jam now and I have experimented widely with all kinds of sweeteners, no sweeteners, and all types of pectin. It wasn't until I spent two weeks in France and ate breakfast like the French that my mind was opened to a whole other possibility. NO PECTIN. Wow. Amazing. Of course I inquired about Lilly's jam as we ate it every morning on a fresh crusty baguette (gluten free bread for me). I've never had such good jam, what was her secret? Just fruit and sugar. The part that really blew me away was the fact that after opening a sealed jar, it went right back in the cupboard, no refrigeration necessary. As soon as I returned to Vancouver, I checked out an old fashioned preserves book and found a plethora of jam recipes containing only fruit and sugar.
I realized, perhaps, it wasn't the sugar I didn't like in jam, it was the pectin. Long story short, this jam is the best I have made to date and I am a believer. The key is to put enough sugar in (which isn't as much as you would think) to preserve it and ward off any mold and secondly, keep it at a rapid boil until it sets. Beautifully sublime.
About the sugar, I'm not a sugar hound and like things unsweetened but when it comes to jam, I am perfectly okay with it. I used natural cane sugar that hasn't been chemically processed. To me, that makes it more okay, don't you think?