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How to make Raspberry-Chipotle Jam - easily! !

How to make Raspberry-Chipotle Jam - easily!

Pdf print version

Making and canning your own jam is also quite easy. Just scroll down this page to see how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. These directions work equally well for strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, dewberry, gooseberry, loganberry, marionberry, peach, plum, damson plum, tayberry, youngberry, etc.; by themselves or mixed berry jam. Any variations will be spelled out in the directions inside the pectin.

Ingredients and Equipment

So, I just used the same amount of raspberries I would ordinarily (9 pints mushed & 7 cups of sugar) and added 8 canned chipotle peppers in abodo sauce (chopped) and did the rest as usual (plus juice of one small lime)!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/2 cup small diced onion

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped

  • 2 pints fresh raspberries, rinsed

  • 1/2 cup raspberry vinegar

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and slightly caramelized, 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Add the chipotles and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute. Add the raspberries and cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the sugar and salt, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened and reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool before using.

For a clear glaze, strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.

Serving Suggestions:
Use as a barbecue sauce, glaze, or basting sauce for poultry, shrimp, and meats. Pour over a block of cream cheese and serve as a dip with club crackers. Use as a sauce for meatballs or cocktail sausages for a crowd-pleasing appetizer. Great in wraps.

Yield: about 1-1/2 cups

----------------

  • Fruit - preferably fresh, but frozen (without syrup works, too)
  • Pectin - 1 package (box usually) or if you get it in bulk, 8 Tablespoons, see the directions below for specifics - (it's a natural product, made from apples and available at grocery stores (season - spring through late summer) and local "big box" stores. It usually goes for about $2.00 to $2.50 per box. You'll get best results with no-sugar needed pectin, whether you choose to add sugar or not! See here for more information about how to choose the type of pectin to use.
  • Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) or order it as part of the kit with the jar grabber.
  • Sugar - About 4.5 cups of dry, granulated (table) sugar. For the no-sugar recipe, click here
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)- Big box stores and grocery stores sometimes carry them; and it is available online - see this page. It's a tremendously useful to put jars in the canner and take the hot jars out (without scalding yourself!). The kit sold below has everything you need, and at a pretty good price:
  • At least 1 large pot; I prefer 16 to 20 quart Teflon lined pots for easy cleanup.
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • 1 Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.). Note: we sell canners and supplies here, too - at excellent prices - and it helps support this web site!
  • Ball jars (Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger, Safeway carry them, as do some big box stores - about $7 per dozen 8 ounce jars including the lids and rings)
  • Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. They may only be used once.
  • Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They may be reused many times.

Optional stuff:

  • Foley Food Mill ($25) - not necessary; useful if you want to remove seeds (from blackberries) or make applesauce.
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at big box stores or it comes in the kit at left)

Jam-making Directions

This example shows you how to make either Strawberry jam or Strawberry - Raspberry - Blackberry Jam - also called Triple Berry Jam (my favorite, and everyone I give a jar to, says it has become their favorite, too!) But you can use this recipe to make any type of jam; where there is a difference, I will point it out! The yield from this recipe is about 8 eight-ounce jars (which is the same as 4 pints).

Step 1 - Pick the berries! (or buy them already picked)

It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality ones!

At right is a picture I took of wild blackberries - they are plentiful in late June throughout Georgia. I usually look in rural north Georgia.

I prefer to grow my own; which is really easy - but that does take some space and time.

As mentioned in the Ingredients section; you may use frozen berries (those without syrup or added sugar); which is especially useful if you want to make some jam in December to give away at Christmas!

Above and at left are strawberries and blackberries that I picked at a pick-your-own farm. If you want to pick your own, here is a list and links to the pick your own farms.

How much fruit?

Jam can ONLY be made in rather small batches - about 6 cups at a time - like the directions on the pectin say, DO NOT increase the recipes or the jam won't "set" (jell, thicken). (WHY? Alton Brown on the Food Channel says pectin can overcook easily and lose its thickening properties. It is easier and faster to get an even heat distribution in smaller batches. It takes about 8 cups of raw, unprepared berries per batch. For triple berry jam, I use 4 cups of mushed (slightly crushed) strawberries, 1 cup of raspberries and 1 cup of blackberries. For strawberry-only jam; you'll need 6 cups of mushed strawberries.

Step 2 - Wash the jars and lids

Cleaning canning jars in the dishwasherNow's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.

NOTE: If a canning recipe calls for 10 minutes or more of process time in the canner, then the jars do not need to be "sanitized" before filling them. But really, sanitizing them first is just good hygeine and common sense! See this page for more detail about cleaning and sanitizing jars and lids.

Put the very hot (but not quite boiling; around 180 F, steaming water is fine)
water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out. Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam.

Step 3 -Wash and hull the fruit!

Slice, hulled strawberriesI'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in plain cold water.

With strawberries you must remove the hulls. With other berries, just pick off any stems and leaves.

Step 4 - Crush the fruit

Then you just mush them up a bit - not completely crushed, but mostly. Most people seem to like large chunks of fruit but crushing them releases the natural pectin so it can thicken. You'll need about 6 cups, mushed up.

If you want seedless jam, you may need to run the crushed berries through a Foley food mill (at right). They cost about $30. Foley Food mill

It works well for blackberries, not so well for raspberries, and no one tries to remove strawberry seeds (they're so small). I suppose you could train monkeys to pick them out, but they'd probably form a trade labor union. But I digress..Berries in Foley Food mill

Step 5 - Measure out the sugar

Depending upon which type of jam you're making (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, apricot, peach, grape, etc.) you will need to use a different amount of sugar, jam and pectin. The precise measurements are found in each and every box of pectin sold. For most fruit; like berries, with the low sugar pectin, you'll need 4 cups of sugar. With regular pectin, about 7 cups of sugar. Mix the dry pectin with about 1/4 cup of sugar and Keep this separate from the rest of the sugar. If you are not using sugar, you'll just have to stir more vigorously to prevent the pectin from clumping. This helps to keep the pectin from clumping up and allows it to mix better!

If you would rather try to make jam with no added sugar, click here for those directions!

Step 6 - Mix the berries with the pectin and cook to a full boil

Stir the pectin into the berries and put the mix in a big pot on the stove over medium to high heat (stir often enough to prevent burning). It should take about 5 to 10 minutes to get it to a full boil (the kind that can not be stirred away).

Why use pectin? You may run into grandmotherly types who sniff "I never used pectin!" at you. Well, sure, and their generation took a horse and buggy to work, died of smallpox and ate canned meat and green beans that tastes like wet newspapers. Old fashioned ways are not always better nor healthier. Pectin, which occurs naturally in fruit, is what makes the jam "set" or thicken. The pectin you buy is just natural apple pectin, more concentrated. Using pectin dramatically reduces the cooking time, which helps to preserve the vitamins and flavor of the fruit, and uses much less added sugar. But, hey, if you want to stand there and stir for hours, cooking the flavor away, who am I to stop you! :) Having said that, there are some fruits that have naturally high amounts of pectin (see this page for a list) and they simply don't need much or even any padded pectin.

Notes about pectin: I usually add about 25% - 30% more pectin (just open another pack and add a little) or else the jam is runnier than I like. With a little practice, you'll find out exactly how much pectin to get the thickness you like.

Another tip: use the lower sugar or no-sugar pectin. You can add sugar to either and it cuts the amount of sugar you need from 7 cups per batch to 4 cups or less! And it tastes even better! On the other hand; I have never had success with the No-sugar pectin without adding ANY sugar. It always turned out runny and bland. You might want to try using the low sugar or no-sugar recipe with a mixture of sugar and Stevia, my preference (or if you prefer, Splenda); sugar and white grape juice, or just white grape juice - that will cut down the sugar, but still preserve the flavor.

Is your jam too runny? Pectin enables you to turn out perfectly set jam every time. Made from natural apples, there are also natural no-sugar pectins that allow you to reduce the sugar you add by half or even eliminate sugar.!
Get canning jars, rings, lids and pectin deliverd:

Step 7 - Get the lids warming in hot (but not boiling) water

lids, in a pot of steaming hot, but not boiling waterLids: put the lids into a pan of hot water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars? Ball wide mouth canning lids, BPA-free, on AMazonBall canning lids, BPA-free, on AMazon

Ball, Mason, Kerr canning jjars on Amazon Get them all here, delivered direct to your home, at the best prices on the internet!

Step 8 - Add the remaining sugar and bring to a boil again for 1 minute

When the berry-pectin mix has reached a full boil, add the rest of the sugar (about 4 cups of sugar per 6 cup batch of berries) and then bring it back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute... If you bring it back to a full boil fairly slowly (on medium heat rather than high) that will help reduce foaming.

Remove from the heat.

Step 9 - Skim any excessive foam

Skimming the fom off the jamFoam... What is it? Just jam with a lot of air from the boiling. Foam, skimmed off the jam But it tastes more like, well, foam, that jam, so most people remove it. It is harmless, though. Some people add 1 teaspoon of butter or margarine to the mix in step 6 to reduce foaming, but food experts debate whether that may contribute to earlier spoilage, so I usually omit it and skim.

But save the skimmed foam! You can recover jam from it to use fresh! See this page for directions!

Step 10 - Testing for "jell" (thickness)

Testing jam for a gel or "set"I keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon. If it thickens up to the consistency I like, then I know the jam is ready. If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1/4 to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute.

Notes about "set" (thickening or jell): It takes 3 ingredients for jams and jellies to set: pectin, sugar and acidity. The amount of pectin that is naturally occurring in the fruit varies from one type of fruit to another and by ripeness (counter intuitively, unripe contains more pectin). See this page for more about pectin in fruit. It takes the right balance, and sufficient amounts of each of pectin, sugar and acidity to result in a firm jam or jelly. Lastly, it takes a brief period (1 minute) of a hard boil, to provide enough heat to bring the three together. Generally speaking, if your jam doesn't firm up, you were short in pectin, sugar or acidity or didn't get a hard boil. That's ok - you can "remake' the jam; see this page!

Step 11 - Optional: Let stand for 5 minutes and stir completely.

Why? Otherwise, the fruit will often float to the top of the jar. This isn't a particular problem; you can always stir the jars later when you open them; but some people get fussy about everything being "just so", so I've included this step! Skipping this step won't affect the quality of the jam at all. I usually don't bother.

You'll also notice that the less sugar you use, the more the fruit will float (chemists will tell you it is due to the decreased density of the solution!)

Step 12 - Fill the jars and put the lid and rings on

Filling the jars with jamFill them to within 1/4-inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put the filled jars into the canner!Putting the jars into the water bath canner

 

This is where the jar tongs come in really handy!

Step 13 - Process the jars in the boiling water bath

Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 10 minutes, which is what SureJell (the makers of the pectin) recommend. I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them. The directions inside every box of pectin will tell you exactly. The directions on the pectin tend to be pretty conservative.

Clemson University says you only need to process them for 5 minutes. I usually hedge my bets and start pulling them out after 5 minutes, and the last jars were probably in for 10. I rarely have a jar spoil, so it must work.

But you don't want to process them too long, or the jam will turn dark and get runny. See the chart below for altitude adjustment to processing times, if you are not in the sea level to 1,000ft above sea level range.

Note: Some people don't even boil the jars; they just ladle it hot into hot jars, put the lids and rings on and invert them, but putting the jars in the boiling water bath REALLY helps to reduce spoilage!

To me, it makes little sense to put all the working into making the jam and then not to process the jars to be sure they don't spoil!

Recommended process time for jams in a boiling water canner.

Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of PackJar Size 0 - 1,000 ft1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
HotHalf-pints
or Pints
5 min 1015

Step 14 - Remove and cool the jars - Done!

Jam jars, doneLift the jars out of the water with your jar lifter tongs and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.

Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last up to 12 months. But after about 6 to 8 months, they get darker in color and start to get runny. They still are safe to eat, but the flavor and texture aren't as good. So eat them in the first 6 months after you prepare them! Another trick is to keep the uncooked berries or other fruit in the freezer and make and can the jam as needed, so it's always fresh.


Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs
    to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter
    - to remove lids from the pot
    of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid
    - disposable - you may only
    use them once
  4. Ring
    - holds the lids on the jar until after
    the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
    - to fill the jars

Canning tool kit

You can get all of the tools in a kit here:


Summary - Typical Cost of Making Homemade Jam - makes 8 jars, 8 oz each**

ItemQuantity Cost in 2021 SourceSubtotal
Berries (strawberries) 1 gallon$8.00/gallon Pick your own$8.00
Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings 18 jars$/dozen 8 oz jars Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores $10.00
Sugar 4 cups$2.00Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores$2.00
Pectin (low sugar, dry)1 and a third boxes * $2.00 per boxGrocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores$2.70
Total $22.70 total
or about $1.25 per jar
* pectin use varies - blackberry jam needs very little, raspberry a little more, strawberry the most.

** - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars and reduce the cost further; just buy new lids (the rings are reusable, but the flat lids are not)!

Can't find the equipment? We ship to all 50 states!

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FAQs - Answers to Common Questions

  • As my jars are cooling after i take them out of the canner, they sometimes make a popping or hissing noise. Is this normal and safe?
    Yes, the lids are designed to flex and that's actually a key selling point. You can tell if a jar hasn't sealed properly (after it has cooled completely) if the lid flexes and makes a popping sound when you press the center of the lid with your finger. The popping sounds while it is cooling is the lid being sucked down by the vacuum that is forming inside the jar - which a normal part of the sealing process. Hissing sounds are usually just escaping steam or hot water evaporating on hot surfaces, also normal!
  • Why should cooked jelly be made in small batches?
    If a larger quantity of juice is used, it will be necessary to boil it longer thus causing loss of flavor, darkening of jelly, and toughening of jelly. It really doesn't work. Trust me; I've tried many times!
  • Can I use frozen berries instead of fresh?
    Yep! Raspberries can be particularly hard to find fresh and are expensive! Frozen berries work just fine, and measure the same. Just be sure to get the loose, frozen whole fruit; not those that have been mushed up or frozen in a sugar syrup!
  • Should jelly be boiled slowly or rapidly?
    It should be boiled rapidly since long, slow boiling destroys the pectin in the fruit juice.
  • What do I do if there's mold on my jellied fruit product?
    Discard raspberry chipotle sauces and jellies with mold on them. The mold could be producing a mycotoxin (poisonous substance that can make you sick). USDA and microbiologists recommend against scooping out the mold and using the remaining sauce or jelly.
  • Why did my jellied fruit product ferment, and what do I do?
    Jellied fruit products may ferment because of yeast growth. This can occur if the product is improperly processed and sealed, or if the sugar content is low. Fermented fruit products have a disagreeable taste. Discard them.
  • What happens if my sauce or jelly doesn't gel?
    Remaking cooked runny sauce or jelly instructions can be found on this page
  • Could you tell me why my SAUCE is thicker then the store bought?
    The natural pectin content of fresh fruit varies, so it is possible the the variety of fruit that you used has more natural pectin, making it thicker. But there's an easy answer - just add less pectin next time. You'll have to experiment to find how much pectin makes the consistency you like. Most people seem to like their sauce thick, so you may to need to only use 3/4 of a pack of pectin per batch.
  • What is the best way to deseed berries for sauce? I heard a few different ways. A food mill, a ricer, and cheese cloth.
    For large seeds (blackberries, apples, and larger) I find a Foley Food Mill works best - it's certainly faster and easier than the other methods. Raspberry and smaller seeds are a real pain. They get stuck in (and clog) or pass through a food mill. The Villaware mill has a smaller screen that works great for them! See this page for more information about both strainers. Cheesecloth and jelly strainers are messy, take forever and you lose most of the pulp. For these, I find a metal sieve or colander (with small enough holes) and a spatula to help mush them and push the pulp through, is best. Also, heating the mushed up berries almost to boiling really helps to separate the seeds and pulp.
  • Click here to see our complete list of frequently asked questions on this page!


Above is the
2020 version of
the Ball Blue Book