When we women in the Mackay family decided to de-commercialise Christmas and make home made gifts my Mum was stuck on just what to give my brothers. Then she remembered how much they loved her raspberry jam so out came the retired preserving pan. She made them a six pack each and my brothers would be slightly dissappointed if their gift every year wasn’t raspberry jam.
|Photographs of raspberry jam production by Lynn Dunn, beside the southern Christmas Tree,
the Pohutakawa, no doubt grown in their Ribbonwood Nursery, Dunedin.
My cousin Lynn makes the same delicious, pure raspberry red, runny jam that Mum used to make. When we lived in Dunedin she would deliver us a jar every Christmas.
My Mum Claire and Lynn’s Mum Coline were first cousins and life long friends so naturally they visited each other whenever they could. Lynn and sister Heather were our city cousins and we their country cousins. They would enjoy the freedom of life on the farm and we would love the experience of city life.
|From left to righty: Heather, Me holding my brother Jamie, Lynn and my sister Kerry
in the backyard at our farm in Riversdale.
While I watched my mother make lots of raspberry jam, I have not actually made the jam myself. To let us all into the secret of how to make a good raspberry jam I have enlisted the help of Lynn who lives in Dunedin.
“I always like to make this jam at Christmas time as the new season’s berries are just becoming available. We often take a drive out to McArthurs on the Taieri Plain to buy their delicious local raspberries. It’s a good excuse too, to pick up a fresh fruit icecream – another of our family traditions!
It’s such an easy jam to make as it only requires a short cooking time and is self-setting – no setting agents needed. Fresh raspberries seem to deliver a better flavour and a glossier appearance.
This traditional recipe simply uses equal weights of berries and sugar.
The fruit is cooked on a low heat for a few minutes until the berry structure has started to break down. The heat is then turned up and the sugar added slowly while maintaining a good boil.
After 3 or 4 minutes I test the consistency by putting a bit onto a cold saucer and then remove from the heat as soon as it forms a slight skin.
We prefer the jam to be a bit runny and not too stiff.
Pour into sterilised jars and seal. It takes a couple of days to set fully.”
Thank you Lynn.
|Coline (left) and Claire (right) the best of friends
and its thanks to our dear Mums that gifts of raspberry jam have
become a tradition at Christmas
If you haven’t the desire to make your own jam or don’t have a jam maker in the family, then the next best thing is to buy a good quality jam. My favourites are Butlers Berries Raspberry and Redcurrant jam from Waimate, South Canterbury and Te Horo Raspberry jam from Otaki just north of Wellington.
|Berries collected from my sister Kerry’s garden
set against one of her many nativity scenes around the cottage