Raspberry Spread

Introduction: Raspberry Spread

About: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Martha…

This raspberry concoction is definitely more spread than jam, as I prefer my fruit stuffs to have a more natural texture than the firm gel-ness of traditional jam. So instead of a commercial pectin, I incorporate the naturally occurring pectin in tart green apples (granny smith) into the recipe.

NOTE: If you would prefer a classic jam with store bought pectin, follow this great instructable.

Step 1: Safe Home Canning

This recipe is a project that I made to go with my Instructables Canning & Preserving Class. I will not be going over all the safety ins and outs of home canning in this instructable, so I highly recommend that you read through Lessons 1 & 2 of my class before you give this recipe (or any other home canning) a go!

Step 2: Tools & Equipment

Step 3: How to Can Using a Boiling Water Bath

Here's a bullet point run down of the boiling water bath canning process with a few notes and how-to's added in.

Please try not to feel overwhelmed by this long list and just give it a quick read. It's meant to act as a quick reference guide if needed. (I've included a printable pdf of this list for even easier countertop reference.) :D

  1. Fill your canning pot with water, put it on the stove and set it to boil. It can take up to a ½ hour for that much water to heat up, so that's why I've made this the first step.
  2. Add a round rack to the pot.
  3. Wash the jars you'll be using well and submerge them in the canning pot water.
  4. If the recipe you're using calls for less than 10 minutes of processing time in the boiling water bath, you need to sterilize the jars. This is done by leaving the jars in the water once it's come to a full boil for at least 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes are up, you can remove the jars and fill them with the recipe's food. I'll go over sterilizing the jars in more detail at the end of this list.
  5. Lay one kitchen towel next to the stove to place the hot filled jars on when they come out of the pot. Place another towel in an out-of-the-way spot where the jars can remain undisturbed for 12 hours post canning.
  6. Set out all your tools.
    • shallow heat-proof bowl with the sealer lids spread out (unstacked) in it
    • lid lifter
    • jar lifter
    • lid rings
    • slotted or un-slotted spoon
    • ladle (if necessary)
    • wide mouth funnel
    • chopstick or steak knife for removing air bubbles from the inside wall of the jars before lidding
    • paper towels to wipe the jar rims before lidding
  7. Follow the recipe to create the food filling.
  8. Once the filling is ready, use the jar lifter to remove the jars from the hot or boiling water of the canning pot, emptying them before placing them on the kitchen towel you set out. Pour enough water from the last jar onto the lids in the shallow bowl to soften the sealing compound. (DO NOT BOIL THE LIDS!) Pour the rest of the water back into the canning pot and set the jar on the towel. NOTE: You should never boil the sealer lids. This could damage the sealing compound. Adding just boiled or simmered water is fine though.
  9. Place the canning funnel in the first jar and use the spoon or ladle to transfer the food into the jar. Keep the spoon as low as possible so that you don't introduce unnecessary air bubbles into the food. If you're adding whole fruit, pack it in tightly and leave 3/4" headspace. When adding the liquid that follows, fill it so that there is 1/2" headspace. (Headspace is from the top of the food to the rim of the jar.) If you're adding a preserve, jelly, or jam, leave 1/4" headspace.
  10. Run the chopstick or plastic knife around the inside of each jar to remove any large air bubbles. (Small ones are ok.)
  11. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars.
  12. Using the jar lifter, remove a sealer lid and place it on the jar so that it's centered and the sealing compound lines up with the rim.
  13. Add and gently hand-tighten the lid ring. Don't tighten it too much, as air needs to be able to escape the jar during processing in order to create the vacuum seal.
  14. Repeat for the remaining jars.
  15. Use the jar lifter to carefully place the jars into the canning pot so that they aren't touching each other or the sides of the pot. You want the water to cover the jars by 1-2 inches. If the pot has so much water that it's in danger of overflowing, remove some of the water. The 1-2 inches of water above the jars is necessary, but more than that isn't, as it would just have the potential to bubble over as it processes.
  16. Set your timer to the processing time suggested in the recipe (plus any additional minutes necessary if you live at an altitude above sea level. See the chart in the next step for how to calculate this.). Once the water returns to a boil, hit start.
  17. Once the jars have processed for the correct amount of time according to the recipe, use the jar lifter to carefully remove the jars, keeping them level, and set them on the 'out of the way' towel.
  18. After one hour, it's important to check to see if the lids sealed properly. There are two ways of doing this:
    • Press down on the center of the lid with one finger. If there's no give in the lid, it is sealed. If it pops down and then back up again, it hasn't sealed.
    • OR remove one of the lid rings and using the tips of your thumb and fingers, grab hold of the edges of the sealing lid and try to lift the jar a few inches off the table. If the lid is sealed properly, the jar will easily lift up by the lid. If it isn't, just the lid will lift off.
      *Test each jar using either technique. Any jars that didn't seal properly must go immediately into the fridge and be eaten within 3-4 days.
  19. Let the jars set for 12 hours on their towel before moving them to the cupboard or pantry.
  20. Eat them within 1 year. Refrigerate once opened.

Step 4: Recipe + Ingredient Prep

My Favorite Raspberry Spread Recipe:

This recipe makes about 5 half-pint jars of spread.

NOTE: I recommend wearing an apron for this one. The jam likes to sputter and jump as it boils!

  • 1 lb (454 gr) of Granny Smith apples (approx. 4 small)
  • 3 lbs (1.36 kg) raspberries (approx. 10 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh or bottled lemon juice

Measure out your 3 lbs of raspberries, wash them and let them drain and air dry while you prep the other ingredients.

Now we are going to prep our pectin provider in this recipe: the Granny Smith apples.

Quarter and core the apples.

Put a bit of lemon juice on the apple slices as you work so they don't brown.

Put all the cores in the center of 2-3 layers of cheesecloth.

And tie up the bundle with baker's twine.

Note: You don't have to use such big pieces of cheesecloth like I did. I just didn't want to cut mine down.

Put the raspberries in a bowl and mix in the sugar with a spoon. This will give the sugar time to macerate the berries, bringing out their natural juices in prep for being simmered.

Step 5: Prepping to Can

Pick your canning pot and jars. I chose to use my smaller canning pot (5.75-quart pot,10.5" W x 5.5" H) which meant that I could only fit 4 half-pint jars and (x1) 4oz jar. That means I'll have some left over spread for immediate use. Oh darn. :)

NOTE: See Lesson 1 of my Canning & Preserving Class for a full description of all the canning tools.

Set up your canning station and sterilize your jars. (This recipe only processes for 5 minutes, which means we MUST sterilize the jars.)

NOTE: To see detailed images and videos of how to properly sterilize jars for canning, read through the 'Prepping Your Jars For Canning' section in Lesson 2 of my Canning & Preserving Class.

To sterilize the jars, put them into the water BEFORE turning on the heat, so they heat up along with the water (which will prevent cracking). Make sure the jars are completely covered by a full boil and set your timer for 10-15 minutes.

Once the timer goes off, use the jar lifter (tongs) to transfer the jars STILL FULL OF WATER out of the canning pot and onto a towel. Then use a ladle or jar to transfer some just boiled water to the shallow bowl holding the sealer lids.

Let them hang out in the water until it's time to put them on the filled jars.

Step 6: Making the Spread

Reorganize your work station to accommodate the large simmering pot. Add the raspberries and sugar to the pot and turn the burner on medium heat.

Bring it to a simmer, stirring frequently. The heat will start to release even more liquid from the berries, creating a raspberry 'soup'.

Add in the apples and the muslin bag of cores, along with the lemon juice.

Bring to a roiling boil over high heat, stirring very frequently.

WARNING: The boiling jam will sputter and bubble and occasionally jump out of the pot. It doesn't hurt to stir with an oven mitt on your hand to protect your skin from the molten berry lava.

The Gel Point Spoon Test

You will keep the berries at a boil until it passes a gel test. There are two commonly used ways to see if your jam is ready to be jarred.

The spoon method is simple: After about 12 minutes of boiling the mixture, dip a non-reactive spoon (no aluminum or copper) into the pot and lift up a small amount of mix on the spoon. Turn the spoon sideways and watch how the spread falls off the spoon. One drip means it isn't at all ready yet (Stage 1: left image). Two distinct drips means that it is starting to gel (Stage 2: middle image). When it's reached the ideal gel stage for filling the jars, the mix will fall of the spoon in a cascade or sheet with no distinct drips (Stage 3: right image).

Another way is to put a small plate into the freezer before you start making. Drop a small dab of spread onto the frozen plate, return it to the freezer for 1 minute and then pull it out again to see if the spread is firm. Repeat this process until firmness is achieved.

I prefer to use the spoon method simply because it's inconvenient to go back and forth to the freezer when you have an erupting berry volcano on the stove. :)

Once the gel test has informed you that the berry mix is ready to go in the jars, remove the muslin bag of cores and use a spoon to fish out as many of the apple slice remnants as possible. (These are great added to a batch of applesauce to be eaten the same day.)

Step 7: It's Time to Can!

Empty the warm water out of the jars and use the funnel and ladle to fill the jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.

Like so!

Use a wet paper towel to clean the jar rims.

Add the lids (using the magnetic jar lifter) and lid rings to the jars, lightly finger tightening the rings.

NOTE: To see this process illustrated more thoroughly, have a peek at my instructable on Whole Fruit Canning.

Use the jar lifter to put the jars into the canning pot of boiling water.

Wait until the water returns to a full boil and Boiling Water Bath process the jars of spread for 5 minutes. Then remove the jars – making sure to keep the jars level so contents don't disturb the seal – and let sit in an out of the way place on a towel for 12 hours before moving the jars to the pantry.

Don't forget to check the seals at the 1 hour mark and add labels! To learn how to do this, have a peek at my instructable on Whole Fruit Canning.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you live more than 1000 feet above sea level, please refer to the Altitude Adjustment Chart above for how to adjust your processing time. For a more detailed description of why this is necessary, read Lesson 2 of my Canning & Preserving Class.

Then the only thing left to do is enjoy the fruits of your labor! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) :)

NOTE: The yummy looking bread in the above photo was made by audreyobscura for her Bread making class! If you've always wanted to know how to bake your own delicious loaves, I highly recommend taking it!

Step 8: Storage Tips

Once your precious jars of preserved yumminess have cooled and sat in place for 12 hours, move them to a dark, cool cupboard, pantry, or root cellar. There they will keep for up to 1 year, but once opened, must be kept in the fridge.

To learn how to make the other preserved foods in the above image, check out my Canning & Preserving Class!

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    2 years ago

    Hi! I have a similar question about sugar. Could i get away with not adding any additional sugar- or perhaps a bit of honey instead? Does that change the PH or thickening at all? Thanks so much!


    5 years ago

    I know that sugar is important to the canning process, but I like my spreads to be a bit tangy. How much can I reduce the sugar and still safely can?


    Reply 5 years ago

    I just finished making grape jam (1st time) and it turned out great! For tangy I reduced the sugar and added lime juice, nice


    5 years ago

    Will this recipe work with Splenda instead of sugar??


    5 years ago

    Very clear explanations. (My raspberries are ripening as I type!) I appreciate the focus on canning safety! Thank you!


    5 years ago

    How to make a simple task like making jam into a really difficult matter...