Lacto-Fermented Raspberry Preserves

We weren’t eating the raspberries from our yard fast enough, so I decided to harvest a pint and try my hand at fermenting them. I mainly did this for my little boy, to have in his peanut butter and jam sandwiches (my husband’s favorite thing to make for him).

Adapted from the “Berry Preserves” recipe in Nourishing Traditions (I followed it almost exactly, but cut it in half)

2 cups fresh raspberries

1 t sea salt

1/8 c evaporated cane juice

1/8 c whey

1 t Pomona’s Universal Pectin

1 t calcium water

First I made the calcium water–you get a calcium powder with the Pomona Pectin and mix it with water. Then I washed the berries and put them in my awesome four cup Pyrex measuring cup (I need an 8 cup size for bigger jobs–I love mixing in these!). I put in the rest of the ingredients and mashed them up and mixed well. Then, I put the preserves in a pint-size mason jar (which magically was just the right amount to be at the 1 inch below the top of the jar line. I put the lid on, and I was done.

I couldn’t believe how easy it was: No slaving over boiling fruit and then over the boiling water canner–I always hating that about canning–who wants to sweat over steaming jam when it’s 80 degrees (or more!) outside? Plus, this is really easy to do in small quantities.

I put the jar on the counter to ferment for two days. Well, more like two days minus two hours–little boy couldn’t wait to try it. I opened it up and was startled by the smell. Not really a bad smell–you know, not like something was rotting or anything–but really strong. The smell actually reminds me of nail polish remover, only not so bad and it still seemed like it could be edible. I wondered if I had done it right–maybe I’m just not used to the smell of fermented fruit?

We both tasted it. It was very tart (the probiotics in the whey eat up the sugar), and salty. Little boy said he liked it, so I put some on a sandwich for him. He insisted it was good. I wondered what I could possibly do to it to make it enjoyable for myself. The taste wasn’t bad, just not what I’m used to, you know? However, maybe I can make it with less salt–it looks like it’s possible, since Wardeh from GNOWFGLINS does it, and she’s way more experienced than I am.

Why do I want this to work for me? Just because I understand the importance of live foods, and fermentation actually increases the nutrient content of foods. So not only do you get increased absorption of nutrients from improved digestion by eating fermented, living foods, but there are more nutrients to be absorbed! Canned preserves are dead food, and high in sugar. Freezer jam is better, but still not as healthy as eating the berries fresh. Lacto-fermented jam is best as far as nutrition goes. It only lasts two months, but you can put it in the freezer if you need it to last longer (might kill the enzymes, though).

I’ve noticed that the more I try something, the more I like it, especially in regards to low-sugar versions of food that I have previously had very sweet. So with time, I may like this (or with finding the right thing to put it in/on). However, I’m going to try Wardeh’s lower salt version for sure. Oh, and I will not be doing this with precious huckleberries!

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