Raspberry picking season is finally upon us! Sweet, juicy, ripe red raspberries that beg to be eaten right from the plant. Those berries that do make it home usually are eaten by the handful or frozen on sheet trays, bagged and labeled for the long winter months ahead. But..... what do you do when your plants gave you more than you can handle, or when that 5 pound box called out to you at the farmers market? Make jam of course!
Homemade jam may seem like a complicated process with a million steps, but i'm here to let you know that it really isn't that hard. All you need is a few ingredients, a large stock pot, jar tongs (this is important -- I have tried kitchen tongs and they DO NOT work), some jars and, of course, fresh ripe raspberries!
Canning was a common occurrence in our house. Large backyard gardens meant an abundance of fruits and vegetables that needed proper storage for the winter. I can picture rows of red tomatoes, bread and butter pickles, pickled sweet corn and, last but certainly not least, glistening jars of concord grape jelly. The grape vines have not given me any fruit this year, but the raspberries at the farmers market are plentiful. I paired my raspberries with a splash of Grand Marnier, a small amount of grated orange peel and smooth, creamy Tonga vanilla beans. Tonga vanilla beans are a very low yield crop indigenous to the Kingdom of Tonga. They are unique and bold in flavor profile. The bean compliments the cognac of the Grand Marnier, and enhances the fruitiness of the fresh raspberries. The combination of ingredients highlights the raspberries and brings down the sweetness of the jam.
When the snow begins to fall and the farmers markets are a distant memory, Raspberry- Grand Marnier Jam will bring a little bit of summer back into your life.