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Lately, getting produce has meant donning a mask and being disappointed by picked-over grocery store shelves. Happily, as of mid-June fresh fruit and vegetable lovers can skip Safeway in favor of operations like Brighton’s Berry Patch Farms, which has been owned by Tim and Claudia Ferrell since 1998. Eight different U-pick fruits, veggies, and herbs (including golden raspberries, pickling cucumbers, and basil) are spread across 15 acres, meaning there’s plenty of space for social distancing—and less anxiety over whether the person in the next aisle is spewing germs all over the strawberries.
Raspberry Lemon Verbena Jam
Raspberries contain loads of natural pectin, meaning you don’t have to add a store-bought setting agent to this four-ingredient recipe. Use your freshly-picked raspberries within one day to ensure your berries don’t go bad.
2 lbs. organic red or golden raspberries
1.25 lbs. organic sugar
3 sprigs lemon verbena
Juice of 1 lemon
Combine the raspberries and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix well and mash the fruit as much as possible with a masher or spatula. Leave the mixture to macerate at least an hour, but preferably overnight, in the fridge.
Pour the berry and sugar mixture into a heavy-bottom wide pan. The fruit mixture should be 1 to 2 inches deep—no more—in order to cook quickly. (Note: Do not double this recipe; it will affect the cooking time and the color and texture of the jam.)
Juice the lemon, strain the juice, and mix into the berry mixture. Set the pan over high heat; stir frequently. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook at high heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, continuing to stir frequently. The consistency will change from thin, soupy liquid to a thick syrup.
When the jam is close to gel point—the jam is set when the mixture is slightly darker and glossy and it doesn’t easily drip from a spoon in a stream, instead coming down with resistance in clumps—stir in the sprigs of lemon verbena and cook for another 2 minutes. Pull out and discard the sprigs and remove the pan from heat. Using a thin metal spoon, scoop off any foam left on the surface of the jam and discard.
- Wash about 10 half-pint jars and new lids with hot, soapy water.
- Put the glass jars on a baking sheet and place them in a 200-degree oven for at least half an hour. Set the lids on a rack to dry completely.
- Once the jam is set, pull the glass jars out of the oven and pour the hot jam into the hot jars. Using a moist, clean towel, clean the rims and close the lids. Pack the jam while it’s hot to get a good seal on the jars.
- Jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Alternatively, you can store the jam in glass containers with lids in the fridge for two to three weeks or in freezer-safe containers in the freezer for three to four months.