Mango Raspberry Jam
I always enjoy trying new things in the kitchen. What I enjoy even more is when a new experiment turns out to be life-changing! Well, I’m not trying to imply that my homemade pasta experiences altered our quality of life or anything, but they certainly changed how we think about food and our kitchen. The same thing happened when I tried a new thing the other day–canning!
It all started back on Christmas when Frank’s sister gave me a guide to canning. And honestly, until that point, I had never even THOUGHT about canning. I knew it was something people did, but it always seemed akin to churning your own butter–an activity only contained in small Amish communities.
But this book, it was so thick and full of beautiful pictures of glossy jams and preserves (not to mention countless pickles, salsas, sauces, you name it). So Frank told his mom to bring jars on her next visit so I could start filling them with wonderful things. And lucky me, not only did she bring jars, but she also dragged along all of her old canning supplies, including one of the biggest pots I’ve ever seen.
Armed with this horde of supplies, I set off to make my first jam. It seemed like every day I passed the fresh produce in any supermarket, there were piles and piles of beautiful, fragrant mangoes. And one day they were 75 cents each, so I knew it was time to jamify. At first, the only things that came to mind were mango salsas and chutneys, but then I came across a recipe for a mango raspberry jam, and seeing that frozen raspberries were also on sale, I had my jam.
And it is so good, like raspberry jam with a tropical twist and the most beautiful candy red color I could imagine. I’ve eaten it on toast, and Frank and I slathered it on bruschetta with some mascarpone cheese. I could even imagine it as a sauce for pork, with some jalapeno peppers added in. Was it hard to make? No. Was it tedious? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes, for sure. As spring and summer begin to put forth amazing fruits and vegetables, I think canning is a wonderful hobby to take up. And how nice is it to thank a host or hostess with an adorable jar of sweet goodness?
Mango Raspberry Jam
(recipe from Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving)
I’m not going to give step-by-step instructions on how to can, because you can find those all over the internet. If you’ve never canned before, this is a great place to start because it’s a pretty straight-forward process. The key to making this process safe is making sure that all the jars and lids are totally sanitized before you use them. I just keep them in hot water on the stove until I use them. In fact, I keep all the jars set up in hot water in the canner from the get-go so it’s a lot easier to set them up and bring to a boil when the time comes.
3 cups mangoes, pitted, peeled, and finely chopped (from about 4-5 mangoes)
1 1/2 cups crushed red raspberries (I used mine thawed from frozen)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 package (1.75 oz) regular powdered fruit pectin
5 1/2 cups granulated sugar
You will also need seven to eight 7 or 8 oz jars with lids and screw bands.
In a large, heavy stainless steel pot, combine the fruit and lemon juice. Whisk in all the pectin until completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add all the sugar and bring back to a full boil while stirring constantly. Boil HARD (that means with a full, constant boil) for one minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam (if any).
Spoon hot jam into jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace at the top. Remove air bubbles with a spatula is necessary. Wipe jar rims clean and place the lids on top. Screw bands around lids until tight.
Put all jars in the canner and make sure all jars are covered with water. Bring to a boil (this will take you a LONG time as there is a LOT of water). When water BEGINS TO BOIL, cover the canner with a lid and process for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and turn off heat, wait five minutes, and remove jars.
Let jars cool for 12-24 hours (the more the better). During this time, a seal will form in the lids. If no seal forms in 24 hours (if the lid still pops), you must use the jam immediately, but sealed jars can be stored 6 months at room temperature or 12 months in the freezer! Wow!