From berries to jam: Processing summer's bountiful harvest

Published on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 by Brandy Kiger Shreve

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It’s been a banner year for raspberries. The tender red fruit has been filling out vines nicely thanks to the extended spurt of 
warm, dry weather that’s graced the region this summer, and Whatcom County residents are reaping the benefits.

According to Whatcom Farm Friends, more than 65 percent of the nation’s raspberries are grown right here in Whatcom County each year, giving residents the opportunity to snatch up the tasty fruit at the peak of its flavor.

While many of the berries are carted off to be sold at grocery stores and markets, there are several U-Pick farms in the area that let you walk their vines and pick as many of the juicy garnet berries as your heart desires.

But what happens if you get overzealous and pick more berries than you or your family can handle? Well, then, there’s always jam.

The recipe I use is simple and the whole process (including canning) takes around an hour and fifteen minutes.

Raspberry Jam (Yield: 8 pints)

8 cups berries
8 cups sugar
2 Tb lemon juice
3 Tb pectin

Step 1. Gather ingredients. 

Step 2. Sterilize jars for canning process (see page 12). 

Step 3. Pour berries into large pot. Use a potato masher to mash them down. Bring to boil for one minute.

Step 4. Add sugar, lemon juice and pectin to the berry mash. Bring to a rolling boil (one that you can’t stir down) for five minutes. Stir constantly or your berries might burn. Beware – this is messy if your pot isn’t deep enough. The jam doubles in volume as it cooks.

Step 5. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before pouring into prepared jars. 

To can: I use Ball Jar’s 12 oz. quilted jelly jars for my jam because they are just so pretty. Whatever you have on hand or want to use is fine.

1. Sterilize your jars – I boil the jars and lids in a pot of water for 10–15 minutes, and leave them there so they are hot when I’m ready to pour my jam in.

2. Pour jam. Leave a half inch of space between the jam and the lid to allow for expansion.

3. Wipe lip of jar clean. Add lid and ring to seal.

4. Return filled jars to pot. Fill with hot water until it just covers the lids. Make sure there are enough jars in the pot so they can’t move around when they are being boiled. Put empty ones in to fill the space if necessary.

5. Boil for 10 minutes.

6. Remove from pot and place upside down on a towel-lined counter. Use a jar lifter to keep your fingers safe.

7. Cover with a towel and listen for the ‘pop’ when the jars seal. If the jars don’t seal in four to five hours, reprocess them in the water bath or put them in the refrigerator and consume within two weeks. 

Enjoy your beautifully canned jam!

No better time to pick your own berries

U-Pick berry farms are a great way to get a bulk amount of berries for a low price. Because you are picking them yourself and not paying someone else to pick, wash and package the berries for you, the savings can be significant. Plus, it’s a lot of fun! 

Late July and early August are prime harvesting times for many berry crops in the Northwest, including blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. 

The following farms in Whatcom County offer u-pick berries. Pay by the pound or the container, and pick as many as you want:

 

Barbie’s Berries

7655 Melody Lane, 

Ferndale 

barbiesberries.com

360/384-1260

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries.


Bellingham Country Gardens

2838 East Kelly Road 

bellinghamcountrygardens.com

360/592-5987

Strawberries, vegetables. 


Boxx Berry Farm

6211 Northwest Road, Ferndale 

boxxberryfarm.com

360/380-2699

Strawberries, raspberries blueberries


Cleaarian Berry Farm

5455 Allison Road, 

Bellingham

360/592-5106

Blueberries.


Haugen’s Raspberries & Blueberries

577 E Pole Road, Lynden

haugensraspberries.com

360/354-4764

Raspberries, blueberries.