As a kid, I spent my summers in northern Minnesota: fishing, waterskiing, and exploring the woods of the Chippewa National Forest. One of my favorite pastimes was wandering the dirt road that lead to my grandparents’ cabin and picking wild raspberries. They seemed to grow everywhere, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to fill a one-gallon ice cream bucket in one stroll.
My grandmother was always ready for them, and would bake desserts with the berries, or just put them on ice cream. And, occasionally, she would make jam. Spreading that still-warm jam on a piece of toast with some butter is one of those great childhood memories that will stay with me forever.
Now, one of the many great things about wild raspberries is that you can find them pretty much everywhere. I live in a suburb of Minneapolis and can find wild raspberries within a few block of my house. My kids and I were at the park the other day, and I noticed some were turning black and were just about ready to pick. So I went home, got a bucket and the kids, and spent about an hour picking just the black raspberries.
Wild raspberries are smaller than those at the grocery store and you need to pick a lot of them to make jam. It isn’t always possible to pick the six cups of raspberries grandma’s recipe called for, so I scaled this down so that you can make it with as little as one cup of raspberries. If you are feeling a touch adventurous, you can throw a couple of jalapeño peppers into the jam as it cooks to give it a little kick. This jam served on toast, or with some cheese and cured meat, it is one of my favorite summer time treats.
Ingredients for Black Raspberry Jam
- 1 cup fresh picked raspberries, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 jalapeños (optional)
- Place the raspberries in a sauce pan with the sugar and start to heat over medium heat.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir and smash the berries until the sugar is dissolved.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the jalapeño if desired.
- Continue to cook, stirring regularly until the jam starts to thicken. Add the lemon juice and remove from the heat. If you are going to can this jam, make sure you have sterilized 8-ounce jars ready.
- Pour the jam into the jars and place the lids on.
- Cook in a water bath for 15 minutes.