Who doesn’t like raspberries, save for a few people who are allergic to them and other related fruits? My late sister loved raspberries and would often eat a whole punnet at one sitting. I like them too and, in Melbourne, the supply of fresh berries is usually plentiful from mid-Spring until mid-Autumn. The local season used to peter out soon after Christmas but has been extended by the development of new varieties; we also have convenient late-season access to fruit grown in the cooler climate of Tasmania.
As in other fruit-producing parts of the world, there is a long-established tradition of converting some of the seasonal bounty into jam, both commercially and in family kitchens. Raspberry jam is very popular and is a fund-raising staple at school fetes and the like. Personally, I prefer to make a jam based on equal amounts of raspberries and blackberries. A case of ‘shiraz palate’, perhaps? Certainly it has an attractive complexity and a dark, brooding colour reminiscent of a full-bodied glass of my favourite red wine variety.
I call it Dark Berry Jam. I only make one batch of the jam a year, using just 500g of each fruit. That produces enough for our own needs and for two special friends – the husband of my favourite cousin and a woman in her late 80s whom Maggie met through her work at a girls’ school.
So, now we have our annual supplies of Fig & ginger jam and Dark berry jam. Soon, it will be the season for Seville oranges, and I will be able to make a batch of marmalade to complete the suite of spreads for our weekend breakfast treat of tea and toast in bed.
¼ tsp tartaric acid
80ml lemon juice
- Place the berries in a large pan with the tartaric acid and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil rapidly, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until a small spoon of jam jells on a chilled saucer within 30 seconds.
- Pour into sterilised jars and seal.