A couple of years ago, I got sick of all the Smucker's jam we would use for peanut butter and jam on toast for breakfast (I like the raspberry-ness, but it's too darn SWEET!), and didn't like the local raspberry jam made nearby. Why not make some?
Having the time to pick my own raspberries and make a bunch of batches of jam has been high (if not #1) on my to do list this summer. Typically, I'll make two batches - although it is hardly enough to last my whole family through the year. Nothing tastes as good as homemade jam -- it captures the light, bright juciness of the berries, warm off the plant, so we can enjoy year round. This year, I want to make four batches -- plenty to give away, plenty for us to last us until next June or August.
The most important step of jam-making, I think, is selecting the fruit. I always opt to pick my own berries -- whether it be raspberries or blueberries -- rather than purchasing them already picked. My favorite place for blueberries is either Jones Family Farm, in Shelton, CT or Boughs & Berry Farm, in Little Compton, RI.
I didn't really have a raspberry place (until yesterday), as I'd pick and save berries from my family's yard, and our neighbors. However, I visited 4 Town Farm in Seekonk, MA yesterday and was utterly delighted by the offerings -- and the big, fat, juicy yet firm raspberries they had! In just an hour, I picked ten pints all for myself -- and my jam project. I highly recommend visiting the farm and market, whether you want to pick berries, or simply pick up some greens and tomatoes for dinner. So much to offer, so good tasting -- and easy on the wallet!
I've already made two batches of jam (see my posting for raspberry jam) -- and can not wait to go back and pick more berries, maybe even get some local peaches to make peach jelly. Stay tuned!