Strawberries, raspberries, black berries. Nothing beats fresh berries in pastries and cakes.

I try to follow the season when I cook and bake, and it’s not that difficult to do if you just try. Somehow, it feels wrong to buy imported fresh strawberries in January when I know I’ll get a better tasting and local produce in June. Waiting (and longing) for the right season is worth it in the long run – for everyone involved.

So what to do when trying to endure the off season? Well, first fill your freezer during the harvest period and then make jam, marmalade and compotes when it snows! You’ll be surprised how easy and how quick it is to make jam from scratch. And of course, I think it taste so much better than store bought. Like my Raspberry Jam, which I use in eclairs, sandwiched cookies (like Monte Carlos), on pancakes or in natural yoghurt for the kids, instead of buying the ready made and sugar intense fruit version.

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Raspberry Jam

225 gram raspberries, fresh or frozen (strawberries or blackberries works also, but you may have to adjust the amount of sugar)
90 gram raw granulated sugar
a squeeze of lemon juice
a pinch of unrefined salt
1/2 vanilla bean, the seeds and the pod (optional)

  1. If using frozen berries, let them thaw for a while (or completely) in room temperature, until they start to release juice. Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a slow boil. Let the berries cook on medium-low heat for 15–20 minutes or until the jam thickens (it will thicken even more while cooling). Stir frequently to prevent the jam from burning.
  2. Remove the jam from the stove, take out the vanilla pod, and pour it immediately in a clean, sterilized glass jar*. Close with a lid.If not opened, the jam will last for months.
  3. If you want to use the jam straight a way, cool it in a clean heat proofed bowl (you can leave the vanilla pod in). Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent skin forming. The jam will last for at least 5 days in the fridge.

*Sterilize your glass jars by first washing them really well (you can rinse them with some vodka or other unflavored liquor as well) and then letting them sit in the oven, heated to 100C/212F for at least 10 minutes until completely dry. Fill the glass jars while they’re hot.

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