Yesterday – during my regular Sunday call with Mom – I told her about the big bucket of green tomatoes I needed to put up today. This morning she called me to give me a couple of recipes for Green Tomato Raspberry Jam. I took the best of both recipes, modified them a bit, and came up with this. I made two batches with great success.
Because the recipe doesn’t call for Sure-Jell, it takes longer to cook and a bit more thought (because making jam with Sure-Jell is super easy), but it’s not hard and I’m going to show you how to make it. This is how our mothers and grandmothers made jam before Sure-Jell came along (minus the Jell-O, of course!).
You’ll need 5 3/4 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups of raspberries (I used frozen berries), 1 large package of regular (not sugar-free) Jell-O, and 5 cups of ground green tomatoes (with the juice).
Note: The original recipes call for 5 cups of sugar, 1 cup of raspberries, 1 large package of Jell-O, and 5 cups of ground green tomatoes. I grabbed a 12 ounce package of raspberries and wanted to use all of it so I increased the amount of sugar. (It needed more sugar to thicken properly.)
I made a second batch of jam and tested the ingredients again and it worked perfectly, so I feel good about giving you my altered ingredients list.
You can make this recipe without the berries (the ground green tomatoes provides the texture), if you’d like. If you choose to do that, just use 5 cups of sugar.
Grind up the green tomatoes in a food processor until they look like this.
Throw all the ingredients into a large pot (I used a soup pot) and bring them to a full bubbling boil. Then, turn the heat down some and allow the jam to boil for about 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After about 30 minutes, start testing the liquid to see what the “stage” is. You want to cook it until it reaches the jelly stage.
The jelly stage?
Hmmm…. I know that might confuse people who have never made jam this way before…
Here’s what mom taught me about the jelly stage. She said, “The liquid needs to coat the spoon and when you drop it into the pan, you’ll see a slow drip that is kind of thick – not super thick – but it isn’t as runny as syrup. There is a hesitation in the liquid before it drops off the spoon.”
Well, she might not have said that exact thing, but it’s pretty close. I think about that conversation every time I make jam or jelly. I still remember where I was standing in the kitchen when she said it.
Mom: This conversation happened when you were living in the big St. George house. We were making sour plum jelly. Do you remember that day? It tasted like currant jelly. I wish my flowering plums produced fruit like that. I’ve never seen flowering plums with fruit since…
So everybody… remember: When the jam reaches the “jelly” stage, the liquid is kind of thick – but not too thick. There will be a slight breath of air before the liquid drriiiipps off the spoon. If it runs off the spoon quickly, it isn’t ready yet.
I typed drriiipppps for effect because it isn’t a fast drip. It’s a drrriipppppp!
This is what it looks like in the pan when it gets to the right stage. It starts looking thicker. The bubbles even change a bit because they start to hesitate slightly before they pop. The boiling sounds a little bit louder because of the popping.
Don’t wait too long, though, or you could end up with candy.
Just kidding. You won’t do that. I have faith in you. You’ll stop cooking the jam as soon as it starts to slowly drrriiiippp off the spoon.
Here is a dripping shot. See how there are spaces between the drips?
If your jam has any foam on top, scoop it off…
…and throw it away. You don’t want foam in your bottles of jam. Foam is yuck-o.
You might not have any foam in your green tomato raspberry jam, though. Each batch of jam is different. I had to scoop it off of my first batch of jam, but I didn’t have to the second time around.
Pour into clean jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Process the jars for 10 minutes.
You should have 4 pints of jam if you use 1 1/2 cups of raspberries. If you use other berries, you might end up with less jam – as I did the second time around. That time I ended up with 3 pints and 1 cup of jam.
Jam making isn’t an exact science so I can’t promise you exactly how much jam you’ll end up with. Not knowing is part of the fun!
Note 1: I have a tutorial about how to process jars in this post.
Note 2: This green tomato raspberry jam recipe is very versatile. The first time I made it, I used raspberry Jell-O and raspberries. The second time I made it, I used cherry Jell-O and some mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries). Both batches were good – just different.
Note 3: Try not to stress too much about testing the jam. If you under-cook it a bit, you can use it as syrup. If you over-cook it, you’ll just have super-thick jam. It is unlikely you’ll over-cook it because you’ll be anxious to have it over. Just remember… it’s a hesitating drrriiippp…drrriiippp…drrriiippp… The liquid almost takes a little breath of air before drip.
It’s kind of cool.
Okay… if you decide to make this jam, come back and tell me how it went, okay? I’d love to know if my explanation of the jelly stage was helpful!