Monday, July 8, 2013

homegrown: blackcap-raspberry-and-black-pansy jam

we started gathering our first real harvest of blackcap raspberries this year. There'll be loads more next year - while only three of our original six canes survived the first year (and the plants don't start to fruit until their second year), those three flourished last year and spread a lot of runners. As a result we have a LOT of young raspberry plants this year - dozens. I'll have a lot of pruning to do next spring!

I combined the few cups of berries I've pulled off the plants in the last few days with some black pansies (and some not-black pansies, as you can see!) to make two little jars of jam. While the blackcaps cooked with just a couple tablespoons of water (to prevent them from sticking to the pan) over low heat on the stove, I ground the pansies with a half cup of sugar in the food processor to make a grainy paste. I stirred low-sugar Realfruit pectin into the paste and then added the sugar-pectin-flower paste to the berries as soon as they'd broken down a bit. Stir stir stir, bring to a boil, and voila! Jam!

I canned and processed the jars for 10 minutes, though five would probably have been sufficient. The result is a beautiful, deep black-purple jam studded with tiny seeds. The pansies add a subtle minty-violet flavor that plays well with the floral quality of the blackcaps.

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