For this test we have gathered five pretty decent raspberry jams, but before we get into the test, two confessions are required. Firstly, we have to declare a vested interest (or two in fact). One of the jams is our own homemade version dating back to early September 2013 (and it’s the last of a pretty successful season), and one of the jams is actually a Raspberry and Vanilla jam from Hawkshead Relish which we loved so much when we were sampling for The British Hamper Company that we selected it for inclusion in gift hampers. Secondly, though we rate Wilkin & Sons Raspberry quite well, we have stupidly bought the seedless version for the test, which, in our view rather puts it at a disadvantage.
We had a fine time testing and even remembered to score! We awarded up to 5 points for each of smell, colour, taste, consistency, price, purity and presentation/branding, 35 points available.
In ascending order our winners are:
5th. With 21/35 Wilkin & Sons Ltd Raspberry Seedless Conserve.
Not fair and our fault for buying the wrong one, but seedless; really? Maybe for a cake. Dull flavour and horrid consistency, not a bad price though at £2.19 for 340g.
4th With 25/35 our homemade 2013 raspberry jam. Gutted! Smell and taste still great, but the colour and consistency were really dull. Maximum marks for price and purity though – nothing in it but raspberries and sugar and cheap as chips. Presentation let it (us) down badly – rubbish label, must try harder!
3rd With 28/35 The Women’s Institute Raspberry Jam. Clever branding and good presentation, really good smell, colour and consistency, good flavour (perhaps a little too sweet?), but very expensive and a shame to see gelling agents and acidifier in the ingredient list.
2nd Place goes to Waitrose Duchy Organic Raspberry Preserve with 31/35. This is a cracking jam and very good value at £2 for 340g. Smells, tastes and looks great, the branding and presentation are spot on. The only niggle is again the addition of acidity regulator and citric acid. Otherwise Waitrose have done a pretty good job as usual.
1st Place with 33/35 is very awarded to Hawkshead Relish Raspberry and Vanilla Jam. A truly worthy winner; awesome taste, smell and colour – sweet, tangy, so fruity and intense and an interesting note of vanilla. Simple and effective presentation and a great pedigree – hand made the old fashioned way in open copper kettles in the Lake District – just raspberries, sugar and vanilla like a homemade jam. Almost perfect score, only marked down for price as it comes in at a rather whopping £2.60 for a small jar of 227g. Well worth it in our book – if you’re going to have jam, it might as well be the best!
Perhaps we’ll try again next year with this year’s homemade version – still needs a label though!