An old English recipe uses the oven to prep berries for a delicious spread.
Now that our raspberry canes are drooping heavy with fruit, it’s time to savor the rest of these summery days. Preserving such delicate berries needn’t mean hours at the stove in August’s dogged heat. My grandmother made super-quick jam relying on an old English recipe that uses the oven to retain the fruit’s shape and bright flavor.
The key is to make this jam in small batches rather than huge amounts, so there’s little stirring and no boiling. Lacking time, just package the berries up and freeze them to save so that you can make jam when the winter winds blow.
This quick oven method is great for delicate raspberries, blackberries, thimbleberries and currants. Heating the sugar first warms the berries before they hit the blast of the oven, so they cook through in less time. We also skip the water bath method that cooks the berries further after the jam has been made and put into jars, thus dulling the taste.
Raspberries burst with a balance of intense sweetness and acidity, and contain just enough natural pectin to create a mixture that’s thick and spreadable without the need for additional stabilizers or thickeners.
This raspberry jam will keep in the refrigerator for at least a month, but it’s so good, we wouldn’t count on it lasting more than a couple of days. It’s delicious folded into whipped cream to pile on shortcakes, dolloped onto pound cake or spooned over vanilla ice cream. For more savory uses, fold in chopped basil and drop onto chèvre for appetizers, add a chopped chile pepper for a sweet-hot salsa or stir in chopped rosemary to garnish a plate of chicken salad.
Soon as it’s gone, make more, and savor the summer jar by jar.
Super Quick Oven Raspberry Jam
Makes 3 half-pints
Note: This will be the freshest jam you’ve ever encountered. Cooking the raspberries in the oven rather than on the stovetop helps them retain their shape and bright taste. This will keep at least a month, covered, in the refrigerator. From Beth Dooley.
• 2 c. sugar
• 1 pint (2 c., about 3/4 lb.) raspberries
Wash 3 half-pint jars and lids with soap and hot water, then run through the dishwasher or set in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes to sterilize. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the sugar into an 8- or 9-inch baking dish and warm in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl.
Put the raspberries into the baking dish and spoon the sugar over the berries, gently turning to mix in the sugar. Return the dish to the oven and bake until the berry mix is very hot but not boiling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and stir gently, then ladle into the sterilized jars. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cover the jars and refrigerate. Enjoy sooner, rather than later.
Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon:
Calories 35 Fat 0 g Sodium 0 mg
Carbohydrates 9 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 1 mg
Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 0 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ other carb.