All summer long I've been making jams and jellies at home. Red currant jelly, red raspberry, blueberry, red raspberry with rose water, red raspberry and strawberry, Skagit strawberries with pomegranate, blueberry, blackberry and strawberry, tayberry and nectarberry jams.
All the while, I've been waiting impatiently for the summer's golden raspberry crop to arrive at one of the many neighborhood farmers markets.
Until this week, that is. One of the stands at the Columbia Farmers Market had beautiful ones that I brought home to preserve right away.
Golden Raspberries are not only hard to find but more fragile and a tad pricier than their red counterparts. However, the payoff resides not only in their beautiful color but in their sweeter, milder, less tart taste, with a slight honeyed apricot undertone that comes across especially clearly when prepared simply in coulis or jam.
The recipe, as usual, is a modified version of one written by Christine Ferber. In this case, I used Madame Ferber's basic Red Raspberry Jam recipe on page 72 of Mes Confitures, a book that is consulted so often around these parts (especially in the summer) that it never leaves the kitchen anymore and by now has been almost memorized by me.
Frankly, the more jam you make the easier it gets and soon enough you turn to books for inspiration, for fruit, spice and flavouring combinations, but the measurements are pretty much in your head. Soon enough, just going by taste and a little adjusting (more or less sugar or lemon juice), jam making becomes almost second nature.
I like my jam (which we used on bread, croissants, brioche and to top our morning yogurt) with a little tartness. Since I make smaller batches (this is key for me) that are kept in the refrigerator and used up within a month, I reduce the amount of sugar.
As with all of Christine Ferber's recipes and all jams and preserves made in our home, there is never any commercial pectin involved, only fresh squeezed lemon juice.
Golden Raspberry Jam
1 1/4 pounds golden raspberries
2 1/4 cups sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Pick over the raspberries without rinsing them (they'll keep their fragrance this way), discarding any that look mushy or moldy. In a preserving pan, combine fruit, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring gently.
Continue cooking on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring carefully. Return to a boil. Skim surface if necessary. Check the set. Put the jam into jars immediately and seal. Refrigerate once the jars have cooled.