Author of The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves and The Joy of Pickling, Linda Ziedrich likes to cook with every sort of food she can grow in Scio, Oregon.

Mixed berry jam

Last year’s berries, for jam

June 22, 2010

Here in western Oregon, summer seems a long way off. The heavy soils that dominate the region are still too wet to plant, and my summer vegetable garden is pot-bound in the greenhouse.

Last year’s berries, this year’s jam.

Strawberries are beginning to ripen, and I have even picked a few raspberries, but the 2010 preserving season has yet to begin.

Yesterday, however, I found in my freezer plenty of berries from last year to make a big batch of jam. So I decided to try combining red currants, raspberries, and strawberries in Mixed Berry Jam. The results were — well, see for yourself.

Mixed Berry Jam

2 lb. frozen red currants, thawed
2 lb. frozen red raspberries, thawed
2 lb. frozen strawberries, thawed
7 cups sugar

In a covered preserving pan — a wide, heavy, nonreactive pan (I use a big Le Creuset pot with sloping sides) — over medium heat, bring the currants and raspberries to a simmer. Uncover the pan, and simmer the fruits about 5 minutes, until they are quite tender (if you use fresh fruit instead of frozen, the simmering will take a bit longer).

Purée the mixture through the fine screen of a food mill set over a large bowl. Briefly mash the strawberries with a potato masher (to break them into pieces, not to obliterate them), and add them to the fruit purée. Stir in the sugar.

Pour half the mixture into the preserving pan. Boil the mixture over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until it mounds in a chilled bowl. Ladle the jam into pint or half-pint designated jam or Mason jars, and close the jars. Cook the rest of the fruit mixture in the same way, and fill more jars with the jam.

The jars can then be processed in a boiling-water bath: five minutes if the jars are sterilized first, 10 minutes if they’re not.

The red currants in this jam provide abundant acid and pectin for a strong gel. I undercooked my jam a bit to keep the gel on the soft side.

Unless your food-mill screen is finer than mine, some seeds will slip through, enough to add a little texture without making the jam unpleasantly seedy.

You can also cut this recipe in half and cook all the jam at once.

Culinate editor’s note: This post also appeared on Linda Ziedrich’s blog, A Gardener's Table.

Related recipe: Mixed Berry Jam

There are 6 comments on this item
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1. by rahul khatri on Jun 25, 2010 at 8:06 AM PDT

friends this blog is wonderful and i accepted this idea and i will tell to my friend .

2. by Fasenfest on Jul 20, 2010 at 3:52 PM PDT

Hey Linda,

Nice post. I was wondering though. Do you find when using currants that you can take your jam off the heat earlier then when using just cane berries alone. I know cane berries have more pectin then strawberries and I generally do not add currants when I start with them. Still, at times I wonder if I did add currants (or just the juice) whether I could lower my cooking time even more. I find I need a good 12-15 minutes for cooking cane berry jam particularly when I making a big batch (4-6 pounds berries).

And what about natural pectin continuing to set up after the fact. By that I mean, what looks loose in the cooking can be nicely set after a day in the sealed jar.

Much appreciation,

3. by Linda Ziedrich on Jul 21, 2010 at 3:49 PM PDT

Hi, Harriet,
Because of the currants, this jam has a firm set.
I agree that you have to be careful with currants. Yesterday I made a small batch of red currant jelly, and I let it boil only a minute or two. I didn’t bother with a thermometer. I took the pan off the heat when the jam coated the spoon and fell in heavy drops, and then I waited perhaps five seconds before spooning ua bit more jam. This time I saw little wrinkles on the surface, and the jam sheeted off the spoon. I hurriedly got the jam into jars. It took about half a day to set completely, but this morning it was perfect.
I generally make jam with no more than three pounds of fruit. This keeps cooking times short.

4. by Linda Ziedrich on Jul 21, 2010 at 3:53 PM PDT

I’m sorry for my sloppy writing: I wrote “jam” four times when I meant “jelly”! But the last “jam” is correct: I use no more than three pounds of fruit when I make jam.

5. by Lyly on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM PDT

Hi, Harriet,
Do you think I could freeze this jam instead of canning it?

6. by Fasenfest on Apr 26, 2012 at 3:15 PM PDT

Yes, Lyly, one can always freeze jam. Make sure you leave a half inch head space in your pint jars though jam does not normally expand in freezing.

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