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Top tips for delicious raspberry jam

Tiffany Daneff / 08 September 2016

Tiffany Daneff shares how to make the easiest and most scrumptious raspberry jam.

Jars of raspberry jam
Jars of raspberry jam

Okay. So I have finally found the secret of making the BEST EVER raspberry jam. It’s easy, deliciously fruity and the pips don’t separate out leaving you with a layer of jelly and you end up with the perfect soft set.

What’s the secret? You’ll have to wait for that. First to the raspberries themselves.

1. Get some good raspberries. Ideally pick your own, or someone else’s

This year has been a brilliant one for the rasps. We had three weeks of summer raspberries – not buckets of fruit, just a few punnets as we only have a few early canes. But now the autumn fruiters are in full swing. It’s not that they are delicious, they are huge. An inch long but without compromising on flavour. Why are they so good this year? It is the third summer we have grown them so perhaps this is the peak of their vigour, or perhaps it is because the ground hasn’t been as dry this summer. There has been plenty of sun and quite a few downpours here which means no mildew and no real stress on the plants.

2. Pick a large punnetful.

I use the plastic punnets supermarkets sell stone fruits in. A full punnet produces about 600g of raspberries.

3. Discard mouldy, soggy fruit.

4. Sterilise four jam jars and their lids by putting them through a dishwasher cycle. (I find this so much easier than all the other methods.)

5. Weigh out just less than an equal quantity of jam sugar, the one with added pectin. You need to use this or the recipe might not work. You have been warned. I used 500g of jam sugar to 600g raspsberries but you can use a bit less or more.

6. Put a quarter or so of the raspberries in a jam pan and, using a potato masher, smash them up with the sugar.

Making raspberry jam

7. Leave to macerate for half an hour or so until the sugar has soaked in all the juices.

8. Tip in the remaining fruit. Put on a medium heat and bring to boiling point stirring to prevent the sugar burning.

9. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for FIVE MINUTES. Turn off the heat.

10. Have a cold plate to hand, drip a little of the mixture onto the plate and do the wrinkle test. (Let it cool then push gently to see if it wrinkles. If it does the jam’s ready.) If not ready boil up for two more minutes and repeat.

11. Leave to stand for five minutes before pouring into sterilized jars. The standing allows the jam to thicken slightly preventing the separation of pips and jelly.

Making raspberry jam

12. Tightly screw on lids. You can also cover the surface of the jam with wax discs but sometimes I just don’t bother. Because I am disorganised.

This recipe fills three Bonne Maman jam jars.

13. Eat.

So, the real secret?

Only make a small amount at a time. I have been making jam for years and I always used to make eight to ten jars at a time. Large quantities take ages to boil down to setting point (in my experience it always takes longer than the books say) and ends up being quite a considerable faff involving a lot of standing and stirring and staring.  

For some reason this year I thought I’d just do a small amount to see how it worked. It was a revelation. The whole process took less than half an hour. The jam really did set in five minutes and the set is perfect. Just set enough so as not to spread when you tilt the jars but not too firm. And because the whole process takes so little time and effort there’s no reason not to boil up another three jars a few days later. 

Little and often. Much better.

Find out how to grow your own raspberries


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.