This past week, I made raspberry compote. A friend of mine brought me raspberries fresh-picked from her parents' home in Berks County, and I just love raspberry compote on angel food cake.
Because the berries were several days old by the time I was preparing to preserve them, I couldn't make a traditional compote, which would have been just sugar and berries. I needed to add the pectin to thicken them up.
The compote will keep for about a year stored on shelves in cool, dark places.
This is especially good on ice cream, pancakes, waffles and angel food cake.
3 cups fresh raspberries
3 cups sugar
4 tablespoons pectin
As always, bring water to a boil in your canner, put lids in a small saucepan to simmer, and sterilize your jars. While that's happening, pour your raspberries into a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized pot, add your sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Cook over medium heat and add the pectin, stirring thoroughly to dissolve it. Bring to a soft boil and boil until the mixture achieves desired thickness.
Using a ladle and a funnel, ladle the mixture into jars (I used pint jars). Using a spatula, slide the rubber end around the inside of the jars to release any trapped air bubbles.
Use the lid lifter to put lids on the jars, then screw on bands finger-tight.
Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, remove and let cool. You should hear the lids pop.
•Because the berries were slightly mushy, my choices were to add more sugar to thicken them or to add pectin to thicken them. I chose pectin because the recipe already has three cups of sugar, which makes it fairly sweet.
•This would work equally well with blackberries, peaches, apples, strawberries, etc.
•Compote differs from jams and jellies in that there are fruit pieces in the mixture. You don't cook them down as much or cut them up into small pieces. Had my berries been fresher, they would have held their shape better. As it is, they taste good but don't look like a traditional compote.
— Lauren Gross, a York transplant, has long been fascinated by the science of cooking. Her column, Preserving the Harvest, runs seasonally in The York Dispatch food section.