I wanted to let you know that I'm really excited about a collaboration I'm doing this year with SIMI Winery from Sonoma County. SIMI asked if I'd like develop recipes incorporating their wines, and of course I jumped at the chance. This is the first of a series of recipes I'll be sharing in the months ahead. We'll start with raspberry jam using the signature wine of summer: rosé. Enjoy!
Growing up in the South, I loved picking wild blackberries every summer, and my grandmother always made batches of blackberry jam, which she sealed with paraffin and stored in her cool basement. As a teenager, I spent summers with friends in Vermont and raided their backyard raspberry patch with the satisfaction of a petty thief. Years later, when I moved to California, I fell for boysenberries, an heirloom blackberry-raspberry hybrid with a high-strung flavor that is impossible to duplicate outside of its too-short season. For me, summer means wading into brambles and returning with buckets of berries.
What I discovered while developing recipes for Saving the Season is that all bramble berries pair beautifully with wine. This recipe uses SIMI Sonoma County Dry Rosé with raspberries, and it gets additional flavor from rose geranium—a tribute to Isabelle Simi’s rose gardens. You can sometimes find rose geranium, one of my favorite kitchen herbs, at farmers’ markets, or you can order a plant for your garden from www.hobbsfarm.com in Maine—it grows like a weed. But don’t be discouraged if you can’t find any. It’s an optional ingredient, and good raspberries really don’t require anything more than the elegant acidity of a splash of rosé.
Raspberry Jam with Rose Geranium and SIMI Sonoma County Dry Rosé
Yields 1 ½ pints
8 cups fresh raspberries, lightly pressed to measure (2 ¼ pounds)
2 scant cups sugar
3 Tablespoons SIMI Sonoma County Dry Rosé
optional: 4 to 6 rose geranium leaves
1) Pick over the raspberries to remove any overripe fruit or debris. Place the fruit in a mixing bowl, and add the sugar and wine. Crush thoroughly with a potato masher or your own clean hand.
2) Turn the fruit-sugar mixture into a 4-quart enameled casserole and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce at a steady boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 12-14 minutes. Turn off the heat and check the set by placing a teaspoon of hot jam on a chilled saucer and placing it in the freezer for one minute. If the chilled jam forms a light skin that wrinkles when you push your finger through it, you have a set. If not, cook for a minute longer and check again. [Compare the two samples below: the top one is still bright-colored and runny. The bottom, darker sample shows a good set.]
3) At the gel set, turn off the heat. Lightly bruise the rose geranium leaves, and press them into the hot jam. Stir the leaves through the jam for one minute, then pick them out and discard.
4) Ladle the hot jam into clean half-pint jars that have been warmed in a 225-degree oven for 15 minutes. Leave ¼” headspace. Wipe the rim and seal. Allow the sealed jars to cool, then store the refrigerator and use within a month. If canning, process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, or follow the jar manufacturer’s instructions.
NOTE: As a variation, you can use blackberries instead of raspberries in the recipe above, also replacing the rosé wine with SIMI Landslide Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.