Summer — berries! Oh, we’re loving them. We found a great place to purchase organic berries at conventional prices, either U-pick or convenient flats. (For local readers, the place is The Berry Patch on Old Melrose Road in Roseburg.) I’ve stopped by each week for a few weeks to bring home flats of strawberries or raspberries. They will have strawberries all season, and various kinds of other berries all summer as well.
My favorite way to preserve berries is to use a tweaked lacto-fermented preserves recipe in Nourishing Traditions. The original recipe is “Berry Preserves” on page 11. Using lacto-fermentation increases vitamins, enzymes and probiotics, making these preserves even better than the berries alone. What conventional jam can boast that? I will demonstrate these preserves as well as a few variations in the fermenting class.
You’ll need Pomona’s Pectin — a wonderful, natural pectin that doesn’t depend having a certain amount of sugar or even a certain type of sugar for setting up. You can use no sugar, low sugar, or natural sweeteners such as honey or stevia! This pectin can be used in fermented recipes (such as below), but also in cooked or freezer recipes. It is extremely versatile and easy to use. Click here for Pomona’s free PDF of recipes and instructions — very handy, easy to read and a breeze to implement!
This doesn’t set up like your normal jam, but it does thicken. It spreads well on toast, pancakes, or as above, you can see we eat it by the spoonful with kefir. Delicious!
Lacto-Fermented Raspberry Preserves
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions. Makes 1 quart.
- 6 cups fresh raspberries, washed and drained (or any other berry except strawberries, which are too acidic for this method)
- 1/4 plus 1/8 cup sweetener of choice (recommended: palm sugar, sucanat, rapadura)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 6 tablespoons whey (dripped from plain yogurt or kefir with active cultures — see directions here)
- 3 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin
- 3 teaspoons calcium water (also included in Pomona’s Pectin)
Mash all ingredients together until all mixed and berries are crushed — though I like to leave them a little chunky. Put in a clean, quart-sized glass jar, leaving the top 1″ of the jar free. Cap tightly and ferment at room temperature for 2 days. If any mold or scum appears at the top, skim it off. Transfer to cold storage (refrigerator or cellar) for up to 2 months, or freeze for longer keeping.
What are you making with summer berries? What is your favorite way to preserve them?