Jam, jelly or preserves? Often words for fruit spreads are used interchangeably, but the spreads have their own distinct character and personality. Jams are made from whole fruits that have been mashed or processed either before or after cooking and are soft and fairly smooth. Jellies, on the other hand, are made from fruit juice and are clear, and very soft. Preserves are made from whole fruit that is minimally processed so that chunks of fruit are discernible in the finished product.
6 Cups Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries and/or Hulled & Sliced Strawberries
4 Cups Sugar
You will need to have ready 4 half-pint (8 Ounces) jars with 2-piece lids in hot, but not boiling, water and prepare a water-bath canner. In a food processor or with a potato masher, mash the berries until mushed. Pour the mushed berries into a large-size saucepan and cook over a medium-heat for 1 minute. Add the sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to boil. Put a candy thermometer into the saucepan, making sure it is not touching the bottom or sides of the pan. Boil for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the thermometer registers 220° F and the jam slides off of a cold metal spoon in one sheet. An exact temperature is important to ensure a good texture, so make sure to watch carefully. Immediately remove the saucepan for the heat. Ladle the hot berry mixture into the hot jars. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace (empty space) at the top of each. Poke the jars gently with a thin rubber spatula to release any trapped air bubbles. Add more jam if necessary to keep the headspace at a 1/4 inch. Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth. Place a lid on each jar, seal-side down and secure in place with a screw band. Do not over tighten the screw band. Put the jars in a water-bath canner on a rack and make sure that each jar is covered by 1 inch with water. Cover the canner and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat; remove the lid of the canner and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and let cool in a draft-free area, undisturbed for at least 24 hours. Makes about 4 half pints.
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