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Mairi Sawyer’s raspberry jam

Written by Claire Jessiman,
Raspberry jam is spread on a wedge-shaped potato scone, that sits on top of other potato scones on a plate. A spoon filled with jam lies beside it. Behind the plate are three small jars of raspberry jam.
Raspberry jam in jars
To celebrate the Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, food blogger Claire Jessiman takes on an unusual jam recipe from the archives at Inverewe.

I’ve made a fair few jars of jam over the years, but adding pectin, boiling and testing for a good ‘set’ has always been a key part of the process. So when I saw Mairi Sawyer’s recipe for unboiled jam from her time living at Inverewe, I was sceptical: could it work? I gave it a go.

Alas, my first attempt ended in failure. To get my sugar ‘very hot’, I guessed 20 minutes at 240C, but it started to melt. So when I added the fruit, I ended up with chunks of crystallised sugar. I did some research and found an old roasted jam recipe by Elizabeth David that advised putting the fruit on one baking tray and the sugar on another, then roasting at 190C for 20 minutes. This I did, then bottled up in the usual way. The jam had a very loose consistency but I left it overnight anyway to see if it would set.

It didn’t. It had a wonderful vibrant colour but the texture wasn’t at all ‘jammy’. With little natural pectin, half the usual sugar, and temperatures below setting point, it was never going to be a conventional ‘jam’. It felt more like a sauce, which certainly made it easy to spread on a scone, and the fresh, fruity flavour was a real taste of summer.

Mairi probably made her jam to be enjoyed straight away, ideal for a glut of fruit from Inverewe’s wonderful kitchen garden. But it would need to be kept in the fridge and used within a couple of weeks. So, for home preservation purposes, I’m going to stick to boiling my jam.


  • ½lb caster sugar
  • 1lb ripe, fresh raspberries


  1. Place ½lb caster sugar in a large basin and put in the oven until very hot.
  2. Stir it into 1lb of raspberries and keep stirring until nearly cold.
  3. Bottle and tie down in the usual way.

Read more about Claire’s culinary adventures at

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