Summer is in full swing and farmer's markets are just bursting with fresh produce. It's peak berry season right now - and there is no better time of year to enjoy raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. They are so fresh that it's easy to eat them straight up or make a grain-free fruit crumble, but I recommend doing your future self a favour by preserving the goodness and making easy raspberry jam with natural sweeteners.
I have always associated jam with old men. I know this sounds gross, but for my entire childhood the only person I knew who ate jam was my grandpa Gene. And it wasn’t even jam. It was marmalade. Orange marmalade on toast was my grandpa’s favourite.
Josh and I go berry picking during the summer and there are only so many fresh raspberries you can eat, and only so many that you can freeze for later, and so I always reserve some of our freshies for a jam.
It's insanely easy to make fresh, nutritious and homemade jam and you can do it without loading it with white sugar and suspect packets of pectin.
Fruit is naturally sweet, and if you've hopped off the refined sugar train with me, you know this! We don't actually need to use a ton of of sugar to make jam. A little natural sweeteners like honey, raw cane sugar or coconut sugar work beautifully. And some research shows that sugar-free jam contains higher levels of anthocyanins, which are potent plant flavonoids that give berries their dark hues.
As for pectin, I took a look at commercial pectin and this is what I found first on the ingredient list: Dextrose.
Dextrose is derived from corn, one of the most genetically modified crops on the planet.
There are many natural sources of pectin, including apples which is what I use to get my jams to jammify. Some fruits often used to make jam, such as blueberries, are extremely high in pectin all on their own.
Raspberries, like all berries, are an incredibly nutrient dense food. They are power-packed with phytonutrients, fibre and antioxidants (including a ton of vitamin C), and they are anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic. All berries are beneficial, so if you don't like raspberries, then feel free to use the berries you love-- they'll all work in this recipe.
This raspberry jam is a treat, but as far as treats go, she really is one of the very best - and so easy! Spread this on gluten-free bread with nut butter, add a dollop to your chia pudding or dairy-free coconut yogurt, add a tablespoon to your smoothie for sweetness or incorporate it into baked treats like these cookies.
- 4-5 cups raspberries or other fresh berries
- 1 cup of apple sauce (go with organic + unsweetened, or make your own)
- ½-3/4 cup honey
- ½-3/4 cup sucanat or coconut sugar
- Throw all ingredients into a pot.
- Bring to a boil while stirring (uncovered).
- Reduce to a simmer, uncovered, and continue to stir occasionally
- Leave it to cook down to about ⅓-1/4 of its original volume. It will thicken as it cools.
- Once desired consistency is reached (about 30 mins of simmering), pack into a clean jar and store in the fridge once cooled.
- You can use traditional canning methods or my fave method, put it in the freezer until your're ready to use it.