Recipe: Wild Urban Raspberry Jam

I spent the early summer evening today gathering nearly four cups of raspberries from a feral bush growing in an alleyway. Then I headed over to my friend Kimberly’s urban homestead to learn how to turn them into jam.

I was glad to find out how easy it is. All you need are sugar and some canning jars. Here’s Kimberly’s recipe:
– Rinse the berries
– Mash the berries with as much sugar as you have berries
– Bring to boil over medium heat and stir vigorously after 2 to 3 minutes
– Optional: To reduce foaming, you can add a pat of butter
– Let it boil for around 8 more minutes
– Check to see if the jam is congealing: Dip a frozen spoon into the cauldron — oops, I mean pot — and check to see if it looks and feels like gel. If it does, then remove from heat and ladle into sterilized glass mason jars. If it doesn’t, wait a little longer.
– The end.

Here’s the illustrated version of Kimberly’s recipe:

Sugar + wild urban raspberries = jam.


Boil & stir on medium heat until it thickens.


Ladle jam into glass jars.

If you submerge the jam-filled jars into a 15 minute boiling water bath, tightly sealed, they will keep up to a year. If you don’t, they’ll last a few months.

This recipe will work for blackberries too, because they also have their own pectin.

You can see Kimberly’s popular and more elaborate grape jelly recipe here.

Share this post and give your friends something to do with all that feral fruit!

10 thoughts on “Recipe: Wild Urban Raspberry Jam

  1. wish i had made some jam with the raspberries i found growing in an alleyway near me (also here in portland) but i just couldn’t stop eating them! any plans to make blackberry jam?! just picked my first ones today…and there are more growing that should be ripening soon than i could possibly eat…i’m a total canning novice (actually never even done it) and wondering if you think it could work without so much (or any) sugar?

    • Nice to meet you, fellow Portland forager!

      I am a canning novice too — in fact, that post was my first time! I was lucky to have Kimberly to teach me. You could make jam with honey instead of sugar, as Patrick said below.

      I have big plans for blackberries. They are so big I am keeping them a secret until I post about it!

  2. thanks, i like a nice simple recipe (eg


    just a tip: if you use honey instead of sugar then you support ecological lovers – bees, not ecological destroyers – the sugar industry; you support the generative over the extractive.

    • That’s true. It was unbleached cane sugar. It’s what we had available. I couldn’t afford to buy honey. Also Kimberly thought it might change the consistency of the end result even if we could.

  3. i not sure how evil or how lovely the effect of sugar is. i know a finnish homestaed and primitivist lasse nordlund who lives up in the north of karelia, finnland. Finnish karelia he found a technique to make marmelade without sugars by turning them. its somethng what he is calling enrgi. he has textes in german russian finnish and english. He has a small self sufficent farm in north of karelia.

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